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Non-Compete and Trade Secrets Blog

Posts tagged Unfair Competition.

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.

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.

Last week, the Attorney General of Illinois filed suit against Check Into Cash, LLC, alleging that the payday lender required its low-wage customer service employees to agree to illegal non-compete agreements in violation of Illinois law.  The lawsuit is another example of the Attorney General’s fight against illegal non-competes and marks the first time the Attorney General has brought a claim under the Illinois Freedom to Work Act, 820 ILCS 90/1.

Did an employee violate the terms of her non-solicitation agreement when she used LinkedIn to advertise her new employer’s services? A Minnesota decision helps define the parameters of prohibited solicitation in the social media context.

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.

Employers who operate in a multi-state environment that seek to enforce restrictive covenants across state lines face numerous challenges in attempting to comply with the law of various jurisdictions and protecting their interests. Choice-of-law and choice-of-forum issues often times prove to be outcome determinative.

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.

A recent medical device case shows that an employer could lose the benefit of a forum-selection clause by failing to sue its former employee along with the new employer at the outset of the case. Unfortunately, in this case, the decision not to do so had dire consequences for the employer.

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