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Non-Compete and Trade Secrets Blog

Since October 2016 and the Call to Action by the White House, eight (8) states have enacted some type of restrictive covenant reform. This post discusses those efforts and provides an analysis of each new state law that we have seen.

State legislatures across the country have been active in recent years proposing and enacting legislation that impacts employers’ use of restrictive covenants. In a series of three posts, we will examine how this movement started, where it has gone, and where it is going.

Nondisclosure agreements are not enough to fully protect the value of a company’s proprietary information. The $30 million dollar jury verdict in BladeRoom v. Facebook, et al. is not inconsequential, to be sure, but it represents only ten percent of the recovery that BladeRoom was seeking against Facebook and Emerson Electric.

The recently proposed federal Employee Mobility Act of 2018 would effectively create a nationwide ban on non-compete agreements. Introduced in both the Senate and the House of Representatives, Senate Bill 2782/House Bill 5631 is the next step in a multi-year effort by a group of Senators and Representatives, and previously White House personnel under President Obama, who argue that employee non-competes (a) unduly inhibit employees’ economic opportunities, and (b) harm the economy by limiting employee mobility. This proposal comes as multiple state legislatures likewise have been considering and, in some cases, enacting legislation relating to employee restrictive covenants. 

Employers must fight the urge to utilize overbroad non-compete clauses with their high level employees. The Northern District of Illinois reminds employers of the consequences that can result from the use of such overbroad covenants.

In its recent suit against the Trump Campaign, Russia, and others, the Democratic National Committee alleges multiple trade secret claims. Can political campaigns have trade secrets?

Many defendants attempt to defend against claims of trade secret misappropriation by asserting that they never actually used or disclosed the information at issue. Based on a recent ruling by a federal district court in New York, however, that defense may sometimes be insufficient to defeat the claim. This ruling is the latest in a series of court decisions recognizing that merely acquiring a trade secret through improper means is enough to violate the Defend Trade Secrets Act.

Non-compete agreements are an essential instrument in many employers’ toolkits. But what happens to these agreements when an employee is laid off or let go due to economic downturn? In a small subset of states, such conditions could render non-compete agreements unenforceable.

In an age of high digital mobility in which a company’s most valuable competitive asset is often their digital playbook data, email enterprise vaults, anti-deletion programming and key stroke surveillance software are a must to protect a company’s most valuable trade secret information.

Corporate espionage is a real threat that could be perpetrated by any employee or other insider at any time. How do you spot the red flags in real time before the damage is done? It's not a perfect science, but here are some tips that can help prevent unethical employees from taking the fruits of your intellectual capital and unfairly diverting business away.

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