confidentiality agreement

In 2012, Peloton rode into the home fitness scene with its now ubiquitous at-home exercise bike, which features a tablet that allows riders to stream both live and pre-recorded classes while competing against other riders on a virtual leaderboard. Peloton built the bike, including the associated technology and software, from scratch, and applied for and obtained a number of patents between 2015 and 2019 to protect its sizable investment of both time and money.

In 2017, Flywheel, a boutique exercise studio, pedaled into the home fitness scene as well with the FLY Anywhere bike. Like Peloton users, FLY Anywhere riders stream both live and pre-recorded classes while pedaling their way up the leaderboard.
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On February 25, 2020, Plaintiff Mustard Girl LLC (“Mustard Girl”), an award-winning mustard manufacturer, filed a lawsuit in the Circuit Court of Cook County for damages against its former co-packing partner, Olds Products Co. of Illinois, LLC (“Olds”), for misappropriation of trade secrets and other derivative claims. According to Mustard Girl, Olds engaged in a multi-year scheme to steal Mustard Girl’s recipes and then use those recipes to sell its own mustard products at lower cost to Mustard Girl’s largest accounts.

This mustard dispute presents a common trade secrets misappropriation scenario—the alleged misappropriator had lawful access to the trade secrets but then misused its access for an improper purpose. An additional wrinkle in this case is that Mustard Girl provided the mustard recipes to Olds under a confidentiality agreement, but admittedly lacks a counter-signed copy. Proving that reasonable measures were taken to keep trade secrets protected is necessary to prevail on a claim for misappropriation. If Mustard Girl is unable to prove that the recipes were provided to Olds under a confidentiality agreement, it may face a significant hurdle in proving that its recipes are, in fact, trade secrets.
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As readers of this blog know, most trade secret misappropriation claims are brought in civil complaints—but a recent case out of Pennsylvania reveals how quickly the tables can turn on a civil plaintiff asserting claims against her former employer, resulting not only in civil counterclaims for trade secret misappropriation, but also in criminal prosecution. This case reveals how defense counsel can—and should—take an aggressive approach to protection of clients’ confidential and trade secret information, not only to preserve clients’ claim that such information is confidential, but to obtain critical leverage in high-stakes litigation. 
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Cross Posted from Employer Labor Relations Blog.

Seyfarth Synopsis: The U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit recently denied Quicken Loans, Inc.’s petition for review of an NLRB decision finding that confidentiality and non-disparagement provisions in the company’s Mortgage Banker Employment Agreement unreasonably burdened employees’ rights under Section 7 of the NLRA.

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shutterstock_155289302By Ada Dolph, Christopher Robertson, and Robert Milligan

The Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) announced today that it had made good on its prior promises to take a hard look at employment agreements and policies that could be viewed as attempting to keep securities fraud complaints in-house. In KBR, Inc., Exchange Act Release No.

As many readers will know, non-compete clauses in employment contracts are only valid in France if, among other conditions, an employee receives a financial consideration of 40 to 60% salary depending on the sector and the role for the duration of the restriction. But do confidentiality clauses need to be subject to the same treatment?

Seismic information about potential oil and gas reservoirs and other sensitive data are regularly used by energy companies to make business decisions and compete in the market. Energy companies must take reasonable precautions to protect such trade secrets. For example, trade secret status may be destroyed if the trade secret is disclosed to a party

By Erik Weibust and Ryan Malloy

In Troy Industries, Inc. v. Samson Manufacturing Corporation and Scott A. Samson, 81 Mass. App. Ct. 1122 (March 21, 2012), the Massachusetts Appeals Court recently affirmed a jury verdict in the Superior Court that awarded damages to the plaintiff, Troy Industries, Inc., based on the defendants’ violation of