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.
The rules of professional conduct in the majority of jurisdictions make restrictive covenants between attorneys unenforceable. But what about in-house attorneys? At least one court in Colorado recently enforced a noncompete, enjoining an in-house attorney from accepting a new position with a competitor.
Courts are increasingly asked to examine the scope and enforceability of non-solicitation agreements in the age of social networking. With employees using LinkedIn and other websites to stay in touch with current and former colleagues, a recent Illinois appellate court decision helps shed some light on the types of communications that may or may not constitute a breach of a valid non-solicitation agreement.
The 8th Circuit recently decided a case under Iowa law determining that a noncompete with an independent contractor was unenforceable. The noncompete was not per se unenforceable but ultimately determined unenforceable following a fact-intensive analysis finding it to be unreasonable.
Companies need to follow best recruiting and hiring practices when bringing on a new employee, particularly from a competitor, to ensure that the employee is not taking with them trade secrets from the prior employer, otherwise a third-party misappropriation lawsuit may be around the corner resulting in expensive and time-consuming litigation.
Continued misappropriation claims that originate prior to enactment are not permitted under the UTSA but the DTSA is silent on the issue. Nevertheless, a growing body of case law is holding that such continued misappropriation claims are viable under the DTSA pointing out a key difference litigators need to be aware of in the statutes that otherwise share many similarities.
The Defend Trade Secrets Act (“DTSA”) allow employers to provide their workforce with notice of the DTSA whistleblower immunities by “cross-referencing a policy document” but the statute gives no guidance on what the “policy document” is to say, how it should be “cross-referenced,” or if the “policy document” should be provided to employees? This post endeavors to provide answers to these questions.
On Feb. 24, 2017, at the University of Denver, come join Fisher Phillips attorneys and a prominent of practitioners and state and federal judges at the first ever conference on the new Defend Trade Secrets Acts (DTSA), which became effective in mid-2016.
When the Defend Trade Secret Act (“DTSA”) was enacted much was written about its unique remedy provision – the ex parte seizure of property. There were numerous questions about how federal courts would interpret and apply the provision. A federal court in California recently gave the first answer.