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Tag Archives: trade secrets

Protect Your Business: What You Need to Know About the New Defend Trade Secrets Act

Posted in New Legislation, Protecting Trade Secrets and Other Business Information

By Sherry Bragg Businesses at every level – from Fortune 500 companies to solo-inventor enterprises – rely on trade secret protections to safeguard their intellectual property trade secrets. American companies and innovators now have additional protections for their valuable intellectual property assets in the newly enacted federal Defend Trade Secrets Act (DTSA). This legislation represents… Continue Reading

Two Things You Can Do To Reduce the Likelihood That Your Company Will Be Found Liable For Conspiring Or Aiding And Abetting In An Employee’s Breach of Duty To A Former Employer

Posted in Breach of Fiduciary Duty/Duty of Loyalty, Covenants Not to Compete in California, Covenants Not to Compete in Other Jurisdictions, Employee Raids, Hiring a Competitor’s Employees, Other Restrictive Covenants, Protecting Trade Secrets and Other Business Information, Unfair Competition

When companies sue their former employees for theft they often claim that the former employee’s new employer has conspired with the former employee to misappropriate trade secrets, or that that new employer has aided and abetted the former employee’s breach of duty he/she owed to his/her former employer. Like Woodward and Bernstein, liability “follows the… Continue Reading

Senate and House of Representatives Pass the Defend Trade Secrets Act

Posted in Covenants Not to Compete in California, Covenants Not to Compete in Other Jurisdictions, Employee Raids, Hiring a Competitor’s Employees, New Legislation, Other Restrictive Covenants, Protecting Trade Secrets and Other Business Information, Unfair Competition

Senate and House of Representatives Pass the Defend Trade Secrets Act (DTSA).  First federal trade secret bill awaiting presidential signature.  More details can be found at the following Forbes article:  “The New Defend Trade Secrets Act is the Biggest IP Development in Years,” dated April 28, 2016.

Hidden Pitfalls of Old Non-Compete Provisions

Posted in Uncategorized

Companies and employers around the country seek to protect their intellectual property by, among other things, using non-compete provisions in employment agreements. Generally, these provisions are intended to prevent an employee from soliciting or doing business with a former employer’s customer/clients over a set period of time and/or in regard to a set geographical area…. Continue Reading

California Businessman Sentenced to 15 Years for Trade Secret Theft

Posted in Protecting Trade Secrets and Other Business Information, Unfair Competition

A California businessman, Walter Liew, was recently sentenced to 15 years in federal prison after being found guilty by a jury on charges of trade secret theft, economic espionage, witness tampering and making false statements.  Mr. Liew, who had contracts with a Chinese company Pangang Group, was charged with stealing trade secrets from DuPont that… Continue Reading

Attorney Fee Awards in Trade Secret Cases and “Local Community” Rates

Posted in Protecting Trade Secrets and Other Business Information

As readers of this blog may know, a party prevailing in a trade secret misappropriation case may be entitled to reasonable attorney’s fees if that party can show either that the claim was brought by the plaintiff in bad faith or that the defendant was guilty of willful and malicious misappropriation. The award of attorney’s… Continue Reading

The Truth About the “Exceptional” Remedy

Posted in Injunctions, Protecting Trade Secrets and Other Business Information, Unfair Competition

It is a truism that preliminary injunctions are “rare” and “exceptional” remedies.  But rarity is context specific.  As a percentage of cars made, Cobra GTs are rare.  If you are standing in the plant where they are made, however, they are anything but rare.  So, while it may well be true that preliminary injunctions, as… Continue Reading

Downloading is Not Necessarily Misappropriating

Posted in Computer "Crimes", Protecting Trade Secrets and Other Business Information, Unfair Competition

One of the key pieces of evidence a plaintiff in a trade secret case usually looks for is the downloading of company information from its computers prior to a former employee departing and joining a competitor.  Generally, this “smoking gun” type of evidence shows that the employee on his or her last day accesses and… Continue Reading

Trade Secret Theft Gets One Year in Prison

Posted in Protecting Trade Secrets and Other Business Information, Unfair Competition

An employee of a Bay Areas executive recruiting firm who left to start his own firm was sentenced to one year in prison after being found guilty of trade secret theft and unauthorized computer access crimes.  David Nosal was a former managing director at Korn/Ferry International and left in 2004 to start his own firm. … Continue Reading

Covenants Not To Compete: Restraining a Seller/Employee Against Competition – Not As Easy As it Looks

Posted in Covenants Not to Compete in California, Protecting Trade Secrets and Other Business Information, Uncategorized, Unfair Competition

Section 16601 of the California Business and Professions Code provides a well-known exception to California’s statutory refusal to enforce contractual commitments not to compete.  Under that section, Courts will enforce “reasonable” restrictions on the seller of a business to engage in competition against the buyer of that business.  This is a commonsense approach: a buyer… Continue Reading

Employers: Act Fast or Weaken Your Trade Secret Case

Posted in Hiring a Competitor’s Employees, Protecting Trade Secrets and Other Business Information, Unfair Competition

When one or more of your key employees leaves to join a competitor and begins soliciting your customers, one of your strongest weapons under California’s trade secret laws is the ability to obtain an immediate temporary restraining order to stop your former employee and his or new employer from unlawfully competing against you.  Many trade… Continue Reading

Trade Secret Preemption Revisited

Posted in Employee Raids, Hiring a Competitor’s Employees, Protecting Trade Secrets and Other Business Information, Unfair Competition

This blog has periodically visited the issue of preemption in trade secret cases.  Preemption arises when a plaintiff alleges common law causes of action (such as conversion or interference with economic relations) with a trade secret misappropriation claim that is based on the “same nucleus of facts.”  California courts have repeatedly held that California’s Uniform… Continue Reading

Upcoming Seminar: Protecting Trade Secrets – How to Manage Employee Use of Proprietary Information

Posted in Uncategorized

Thursday, May 17, 2012 9:00 a.m. – Registration and Breakfast 9:30 a.m. – 11:30 a.m. – Program 400 Capitol Mall, 11th Floor, Sacramento, CA Can You Keep a Secret? From trade secrets like product recipes and algorithms to confidential details about financing, customers and costs, all businesses have information that could be devastating if it… Continue Reading

California Employers: When Should I Think About Protecting My Business Trade Secrets?

Posted in Protecting Trade Secrets and Other Business Information

Now.  Trade secrets (especially those relating to customers, pricing, costs and employees) can be a little like love taken for granted:  You don’t notice it until its gone.  California law often protects such information (sometimes called “soft” trade secrets to distinguish them from product formulas and other “hard” trade secrets) from misuse by former employees… Continue Reading