A recent case from the Colorado Supreme Court underscores the importance of covering all bases in proving that information actually constitutes trade secrets or other confidential information. Litigants who fail to do so risk broad disclosure of their protectable information.
Uber and Yellow Cab fight over whether the latter can obtain information about the former's pick-ups via open records request.
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.
This week, President Obama signed into law the Defend Trade Secrets Act. Among its many interesting provisions is a detailed procedure for a party to request, ex parte, the seizure of property in order to "prevent the propagation or dissemination" of the trade secret at issue. Such an order would only be available in "extraordinary circumstances." This could be a very powerful tool in a fight against misappropriation of trade secrets as it could impair the defendant's ability to conduct business.
With the recent passage of the Defense of Trade Secrets Act (DTSA), businesses are welcoming the many benefits the statute brings, including federal jurisdiction, robust equitable relief, and the ability to recover compensatory damages, punitive damages, and attorneys’ fees. However, in the midst of celebrating this new federal cause of action, many employers are overlooking a requirement embedded deep within the statute.
Trade secret practitioners often find ourselves having to explain what a trade secret is. The most common example (and one which I frequently use) is the Coca-Cola formula, as it can be easily used to illustrate each of the prongs of the trade secret test. That example can then dovetail into a description of the Joya Williams case from a decade ago, which is a good example of an effective internal investigation on the part of an employer protecting its trade secrets.