In a decision of first impression issued last week, the United States District Court for the Western District of Tennessee held, in Gus’s Franchisor, LLC v. Terrapin Restaurant Partners, LLC, that the COVID-19 pandemic did not excuse a terminated franchisee of Gus’s World Famous Fried Chicken (“Gus’s”) from complying with a temporary restraining order (TRO) and permanent injunction prohibiting it from using Gus’s trademarks, trade secrets and proprietary business information.
Continue Reading Don’t Play Chicken With Court Orders: COVID-19 Is No Excuse for a Terminated Franchisee to Continue Using the Franchisor’s Intellectual Property and Trade Secrets

Partner Erik Weibust will be speaking on Thursday, August 13, 2020, at 12:00 p.m. EST, on an American Bar Association webinar entitled “Non-Compete Update: Practical Guidance in Response to COVID-19.” Erik will be covering topics including “Enforcing Non-Competes During High Unemployment” and “Preparation and Pursuit of Non-Compete Litigation During Court Closures/Limited Access.” Other topics include:

Seyfarth partners Robert Milligan and Dawn Mertineit recently recorded a 60-minute webinar for California CLE provider CEB, “Handling a Remote Work Force and Return to Work Considerations in the Age of COVID-19: Best Practices for Protecting Trade Secrets and Confidential Information.”

The course focuses on the best practices and steps companies can take to continue

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

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

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

As we previously reported,  as a result of the COVID-19 crisis, courts across the country are adjourning most appearances, including trials, and hearing only “emergency matters,” often by teleconference or other remote methods. This presents a new quandary for trade secret and restrictive covenant lawyers, who regularly must seek emergency injunctive relief to protect their clients’ trade secrets and customer goodwill. But it does not follow that these lawyers should be careless about when to seek emergency relief; in fact, quite the opposite, they must be more diligent in that regard during the current pandemic.
Continue Reading Prior Ruling on What Constitutes a Litigation “Emergency” May Not Be a Unicorn After All

Imagine this scenario: You are the general counsel of a company in a particularly competitive industry. A key company employee who has access to some of the company’s most sensitive information has been working remotely for the last three weeks as a result of the COVID-19 crisis, and the employee exploits the opportunity to print or download confidential company information to a personal device, including customer lists and product specifications. The employee then gives notice and immediately begins employment with a direct competitor and begins soliciting your top customers. You consult with outside counsel who drafts a complaint and motion for preliminary injunctive relief and expedited discovery. But, as a result of COVID-19, you cannot obtain emergency relief, or the ability to do so is severely limited. What do you do?
Continue Reading Preparing for Trade Secret and Restrictive Covenant Litigation While the Court Near You is Closed