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Non-Compete and Trade Secrets Blog

When a company buys the assets of another, can those assets include the right to enforce a non-compete agreement?

Uber and Yellow Cab fight over whether the latter can obtain information about the former's pick-ups via open records request.

A Kansas employer sees its choice-of-law provision invalidated, has to proceed under Wisconsin law, and survives to tell the tale!

The Georgia Supreme Court recently ruled that if a defendant has returned all of the confidential information at issue, then a continuing injunction is not warranted.

As a management-side labor and employment law firm with a national practice, we often deal with companies who have operations in multiple states throughout the country.  These same companies are often frustrated in their desire for consistent management and human resources practices because of the differing laws in the states in which they do business.  Nowhere have these companies felt this frustration more than in regard to the multi-varied state laws regarding the enforcement of non-competes.  Companies that want a single standard for non-competes for all of their employees often find themselves unable to implement such consistent standards without running afoul of an individual state’s limitations on the enforcement of such non-competes.

An eternal debate in trade secrets cases is how much exposure the defendant's business personnel can get to the information that their company has allegedly misappropriated.  This fight proved to be the first instance in which the Texas Supreme Court opined on that state's new trade secrets statute.

On April 27, 2016, Congress passed federal trade secrets legislation known as the "Defend Trade Secrets Act" ("DTSA"). On May 11, 2016, President Obama signed DTSA into law. The enactment of DTSA creates, among other things, a federal civil remedy for the misappropriation of trade secret business information. However, DTSA will not preempt or otherwise override state laws concerning trade secrets, such as the Uniform Trade Secrets Act ("UTSA"), which many states have adopted. Further, the rights to recovery under DTSA and UTSA are very similar. For example, both statutes provide a right to recover exemplary damages equal to twice the amount of actual damages awarded and attorney's fees

With President Obama's signature on the Defend Trade Secrets Act, the doctrine of inevitable disclosure took a timid step toward an early death, at least with respect to federal trade secret law. After years of judicial disagreement about the propriety of the doctrine, it is worth examining how DTSA's supposed rejection of the doctrine could affect trade secret litigation.

One of the most frequent Texas non-compete questions I am asked is whether an employee and employer can enter an enforceable non-compete agreement at the time of termination.

It was five years ago this week (May 11, 2011, to be precise) that Georgia's new restrictive covenant statute went into effect.  Prior to the effective date of the statute, Georgia was (surprisingly for many out-of-state lawyers and businesses) one of the hardest states in which to enforce a restrictive covenant. As the Georgia Supreme Court stated in a a self-deprecating manner in Fuller v. Kolb, "Ten Philadelphia lawyers could not draft an employer-employee restrictive covenant agreement that would pass muster under the recent rulings of this court."  (No one knows why Justice Ingram selected Philadelphia as the home of the most astute lawyers in the country, but I'm sure that the lawyers in our Philadelphia office would whole-heartedly agree.)  The Georgia Supreme Court made this comment in 1977, well before the case law on restrictive covenants proliferated and became difficult for all but the most experienced practitioners to navigate.

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