Called upon by the Ninth Circuit in Ixchel Pharma, LLC v. Biogen, Inc. to answer two key questions concerning the validity of a settlement provision requiring a party’s termination of a collaboration agreement with a third-party, the California Supreme Court unanimously held:

  1. to state a claim for tortious interference with an at-will contract, a plaintiff must allege that the defendant engaged in an independently wrongful act, and
  2. in determining the validity of a competitive restriction in a business-to-business agreement under Business and Professions Code section 16600, the rule of reason applies and such restriction is not per se void.

The Court’s decision will impact how companies contracting under California law decide to set up their contracts and whether they will agree to the at-will termination of such contracts. The decision also provides some clarity for businesses that include competitive restraints with other companies in their commercial dealings, such as exclusive dealing and collaboration agreements, licenses, leases, and franchise agreements, as such restraints are not per se void under Section 16600 but subject to a rule of reason analysis.
Continue Reading California Supreme Court Clarifies Pleading Requirements for Claims of Tortious Interference with At-Will Contracts and Adopts Rule of Reason in Evaluating Competitive Restraints in Contracts Between Businesses

On Tuesday, October 10, 2017, the United States Supreme Court denied certiorari in Nosal v. United States, 16-1344. Nosal asked the Court to determine whether a person violates the Computer Fraud and Abuse Act’s prohibition of accessing a computer “without authorization” when using someone else’s credentials (with that other user’s permission) after the owner of the computer expressly revoked the first person’s own access rights. In denying certiorari, the Court effectively killed the petitioner’s legal challenge to his conviction in a long-running case that we have extensively covered here, here, here, here, here, here, and here (among other places). The denial of certiorari leaves further development of the scope of the CFAA in the hands of the lower courts.
Continue Reading Supreme Court Refuses to Hear Password-Sharing Case, Leaving Scope of Criminal Liability Under Computer Fraud and Abuse Act Unclear

shutterstock_299582249On October 20, 2015, a Ninth Circuit panel consisting of Chief Judge Sidney Thomas and Judges M. Margaret McKeown and Stephen Reinhardt heard oral argument from the U.S. Department of Justice and counsel for David Nosal on Nosal’s criminal conviction arising under the Computer Fraud and Abuse Act (CFAA).   In 2013, Nosal was found to

California -- brick wallIn United States v. Nosal, 676 F.3d 854 (9th Cir. 2012) (en banc), the court held that the Computer Fraud and Abuse Act, 18 U.S.C. § 1030, prohibits unlawful access to a computer but not unauthorized use of computerized information.  Although that holding represents a minority position, two recent opinions — one

Zealous advocacy, copious use of Latin, and literary devices advantageously applied to attack our adversaries’ arguments.  These are the cornerstones of American legal representation. 

These tools are part of the modus operandi of every lawyer.  This article may use dead language and assonance as running themes, but some lawyers take zealous advocacy ad infinitum

By Robert Milligan and Joshua Salinas

A California federal jury convicted a San Francisco executive recruiter this week for violations of the Computer Fraud and Abuse Act (“CFAA”) and theft of trade secrets from his former employer. The conviction represents a significant landmark in the closely watched eight-year case that deepened a federal circuit court

Does the Computer Fraud and Abuse Act (“CFAA”) prohibit hacking–improperly gaining entrance into a computer system–or simply prohibit improper use of a computer system? U.S. Courts of Appeal are divided. Now, district and appellate court judges in a single federal case pending in the Northern District of California, U.S. v. Nosal,

According to a recent filing with the California federal district court in the United States v. Nosal case, the Solicitor General, in consultation with the Criminal Division of the Department of Justice and the United States Attorney’s Office, is still deciding whether to file a writ of certiorari with the United States Supreme Court.

The

By Robert Milligan and Jeffrey Oh

A recent California federal court decision has permitted an employer to pursue a former employee for alleged violations of the employer’s computer usage policies under the Computer Fraud and Abuse Act (“CFAA”), while an en banc Ninth Circuit panel considers the validity of such claims. The Ninth Circuit’s decision