Legislators in the Commonwealth of Virginia, the site of Patrick Henry’s infamous “Give me liberty, or give me death” speech, have enacted legislation that gives more liberty to low-wage workers looking to leave for greener pastures, joining the ranks of many other states that have passed similar restrictions (stay tuned for a post soon on Indiana’s own recently passed non-compete legislation application to physicians). While the new law was passed quietly, it’s not particularly surprising that the Commonwealth sought to join the trend of restricting non-competes for low earners (see for example similar efforts in DC, Maryland, Maine, New Hampshire, Washington, and Massachusetts)—especially in light of the COVID-19 pandemic that is sending unemployment rates soaring. Continue Reading “Give Me Liberty”: Virginia Legislature Passes Law to Exempt Low-Wage Workers from Employment Restrictions

With so many employees now working remotely through the COVID-19 pandemic—using new and sometimes untested technologies—we are taking this opportunity to collect real-time perspectives on what companies are doing to protect their trade secrets in the current climate.

To that end, we have created a brief anonymous survey that should take no more than three minutes to complete.

We plan to share the results so you can get a sense of what other businesses are doing to mitigate risks and manage confidential information and trade secrets in this time of crisis.

Take the Survey >>

On April 16, 2020, the White House issued its “Guidelines for Opening Up America Again,” and several states have begun a slow process of emerging from the shutdown. But even the most optimistic scenarios are fraught with uncertainty. Nobody can predict when the economy will fully reopen, or what that even means in the post-COVID-19 business world. Will increased remote work become the “new normal”? Will business meetings, pitches, and conferences, continue to take place by videoconference or other remote means? What about investigations, depositions, mediations, and court proceedings? And how long will all of that last? We also do not know when the next pandemic will strike, or even if COVID-19 will rear its ugly head again in the near future. Continue Reading Normalizing the Abnormal—Protecting Trade Secrets in a Post-COVID-19 World

While it can be hard to remember in a world dominated by COVID-19 headlines, the wheels of justice have not stopped turning at the Supreme Court—even if Justices are now hearing argument remotely. On Monday, April 20, SCOTUS granted a petition for certiorari in a case that may finally provide clarity to a question that has troubled defense attorneys and trade secrets practitioners alike for many years: what does it mean to “exceed authorized access” under the Computer Fraud and Abuse Act? Continue Reading CFAA Battle Heading to the Supreme Court

As a special feature of our blog—guest postings by experts, clients, and other professionals—please enjoy this blog entry from Neil Eisgruber, Director in the Disputes, Compliance & Investigations group at Stout.

For decades, companies have turned to federal courts to protect valuable business assets, such as trade secrets. Legal action has expanded over the years and recent trends have set the foundation for a continuing surge in federal trade secret litigation. Continue Reading Trade Secret Litigation: Activity on the Rise

On Thursday, April 23 at 12 p.m. Central, Seyfarth attorneys Erik Weibust, Marcus Mintz, and Jeremy Cohen are presenting Weathering the COVID-19 Storm With Your Trade Secrets and Customer Goodwill Intact, a webinar is Seyfarth’s Responding to the COVID-19 Pandemic Webinar Series.

COVID-19 has changed the way most companies are currently doing business, from requiring remote work, to using new technology to meet the daily needs of their employees and customers, to furloughing and laying off employees and making other hard decisions to reduce costs. In this webinar, we will discuss how to emerge from the other side of the current crisis without sacrificing the protection of your company’s trade secret and customer goodwill. The panel will cover:

  • Practical Tips for Protecting Trade Secrets During a Pandemic
  • What Constitutes a Litigation “Emergency” During a Worldwide Health Crisis
  • Enforcing Restrictive Covenant Agreements During Times of High Unemployment
  • Preparing for Trade Secret and Restrictive Covenant Litigation While the Court Near You is Closed
  • Emergency Injunction Not in the Cards? Damages May Be Your Winning Hand

Register Here

*CLE Credit for these webinars is approved in the following states: CA, IL, NJ and NY. CLE Credit is pending for GA, TX and VA. Credit will be applied for, but cannot be guaranteed, in all other eligible jurisdictions. Please note that in order to receive full credit for attending each webinar, the registrant must be present for the entire session.

One of the first things a company should do when it suspects that its trade secrets have been compromised or that an employee has violated post-employment restrictive covenants is to conduct an investigation. Doing so will identify and ensure preservation of evidence supporting any claims, and is critical to the ability to demonstrate the need for emergency injunctive relief, especially at a time when courts are taking a rigorous approach to what constitutes a “litigation emergency.” Conducting a prompt investigation also helps to avoid any potential defenses of delay, bad faith, or a failure to investigate. Continue Reading Conducting Trade Secret and Restrictive Covenant Investigations Remotely

We have previously written about the effects of COVID-19 on the way we currently work, as well as how businesses need to adapt to protect their trade secrets, customer goodwill, and other interests. In ordinary times, emergency injunctive relief is often the first resort for a business after discovering its trade secrets were stolen or  customer relationships are at risk. In the current environment, seeking emergency injunctive relief may not be possible or practicable until courts return to business as usual. Another ancillary effect of COVID-19 is the expected wave of bankruptcy filings. This poses the question: What do you do when a wrongdoer is insolvent or about to file for bankruptcy protection? Continue Reading Bankruptcy is Not a “Get Out of Jail Free” Card: Enforcing Trade Secret Rights and Restrictive Covenants Against Financially Troubled Wrongdoers

On April 21, 2020, at 12 p.m. Pacific, Seyfarth partner Robert Milligan is presenting the Coronavirus & Remote Work Force: Best Practices for Protecting Trade Secrets and Confidential Information webinar for the California Lawyers Association. The webinar will focus on the best practices and steps companies can take to continue to protect intellectual capital during the coronavirus pandemic, including the policies, protections, and agreements needed to protect information in this remote environment.

For more information or to register, see the California Lawyers Association website posting for this program.

As a result of the COVID-19 crisis, and the effective shut down of most of the US economy over the past several weeks (and for the foreseeable future), many companies are currently hemorrhaging cash, others may be temporarily illiquid, and even more are facing pressure from stakeholders to minimize costs (and maximize profits) in order to navigate and weather the current and impending financial storm. But this is no time to be penny wise and pound foolish, particularly when a company’s trade secrets are at risk and the misappropriation of those trade secrets could destroy the company. Continue Reading Protecting Trade Secrets Without Breaking the Bank (Or Even Negatively Affecting Profits)