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Non-Compete and Trade Secrets Blog

Posts in Trade Secrets.

It has now been over two years since the Defend Trade Secrets Act went into effect. How have courts been applying the controversial civil seizure remedy?

In a trade secrets matter, Magistrate Judge Jeffrey Cole of the Northern District of Illinois rejected Motorola’s attempt to compel the imaging of the computers of a number of Hytera employees. The decision is especially interesting with respect to the intersection between computer forensics and proportionality.

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. 

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.

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.

Notwithstanding California's strong public policy in favor of lawful competition, California employees' duty of loyalty to their current employer reigns supreme. A violation of that duty can lead to costly jury verdicts in favor of the employees' former employer. This was illustrated in the recent case, AeroVironment vs. Gabriel Torres, Justin McAllister and Jeff McBride.

The simplest, most valuable, yet commonly overlooked piece of advice any trade secret owner can receive is this: Protect yours trade secrets!  It seems crazy that this simple advice warrants repeating, but apparently, it does, particularly in Silicon Valley where billions of dollars have been spent researching and developing electric and autonomous vehicle technology.

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