Category Archives: Trade Secrets

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4 Steps to More Effectively Use NDAs to Protect Confidential Information

Companies routinely use Non-Disclosure Agreements (NDAs) to protect confidential information shared with potential acquirers, consultants, and other third parties.  But companies cannot merely rely on stock NDAs to protect that information.  They should understand each NDA’s procedures for designating information as “Confidential” (and ensure compliance with them), and grasp the interplay between NDAs and state … Continue Reading

Protecting Social Media Contact Lists as Trade Secrets

Social media contact lists have become an increasingly important part of a business’s customer lists.  While courts are still grappling with who legally “owns” the data that the employee acquired on the employer’s dime—such as LinkedIn customer connections or access to a list of Twitter-feed recipients[1]—employers can still take steps to bolster the company’s claim … Continue Reading

COVID-19 and Trade Secrets: Is Your Business Prepared to Protect its Trade Secrets While Your Employees Work From Home?

In response to the COVID-19 outbreak, many businesses (particularly those in states or cities under “stay home” orders) have implemented a work-from-home (“WFH”) directive for employees.  It is important for businesses to address the security of their trade secrets in this new environment in order to reduce the risk of misappropriation.  It is also important … Continue Reading

Intellectual Property Outlook: Cases and Trends to Follow in 2020 – PART1

PART 1: IP ISSUES CURRENTLY PENDING BEFORE THE SUPREME COURT In the first part of our series, we briefly summarize the intellectual property issues that the Supreme Court has already agreed to address in 2020. In particular, we provide a brief overview and key takeaways for the Supreme Court’s consideration of: Whether adding “.com” to … Continue Reading

Intellectual Property in the Cannabis Industry – Protecting Innovations And Products, Part I (Trade Secrets)

This post originally appeared as an article in Cannabis Business Executive on December 5, 2019. A cannabis product business is no simple venture. Cannabusinesses have to innovate to remain competitive just like any other company, but in an industry plagued by complex and changing federal and state regulations of marijuana (aka cannabis). At the heart … Continue Reading

3 Steps in Furtherance of Avoiding Devastating Spoliation Sanctions in Trade Secret Misappropriation Litigation

Preservation of electronically stored evidence (ESI) may be critical in trade secret cases. When a dispute revolves around whether a defendant accessed and/or transmitted the plaintiff’s trade secret material maintained in an electronic file, the file’s metadata can have evidentiary importance. Similarly, the defendant may have an interest in the plaintiff’s own disclosures of the … Continue Reading

Don’t Spill Your Trade Secrets: Protecting Your Competitive Advantage in the Food and Beverage Industry (Part 2 of 2)

In the race to get new products to market, food and beverage businesses sometimes neglect their critically important intangible assets — their valuable trade secrets. Through advance planning and diligence, businesses in that industry can avoid losing the competitive advantage afforded to them by their proprietary information. In our last post we discussed the 7 potential … Continue Reading

Don’t Spill Your Trade Secrets: Protecting Your Competitive Advantage in the Food and Beverage Industry (Part 1 of 2)

In the race to get new products to market, food and beverage businesses sometimes neglect their critically important intangible assets — their valuable trade secrets. Through advance planning and diligence, businesses in that industry can avoid losing the competitive advantage afforded to them by this proprietary information. Famous Food & Beverage Trade Secrets. Some food … Continue Reading

A Cautionary Tale: Don’t Wait Until There Is A Problem To Protect Your Trade Secrets

A federal decision recently reminded businesses about the importance of taking appropriate measures to protect their proprietary information before any misappropriation occurs. In Abrasic 90 Inc. v. Weldcote Medals, Inc.[1], the court denied the plaintiff’s motion for a preliminary injunction “largely because [the plaintiff] did not protect its supposedly secret information.” The court’s order underscores … Continue Reading

OH SNAP! Supreme Court to Take on Meaning of Key FOIA Exemption

On January 11, 2019, the Supreme Court granted a petition for writ of certiorari over an Eighth Circuit decision involving Exemption 4 of the Freedom of Information Act (“FOIA”), which protects from public disclosure “trade secrets and commercial or financial information obtained from a person and privileged or confidential.” This marks the first time the … Continue Reading

UPDATE: The Federal Defend Trade Secrets Act vs. The California Uniform Trade Secrets Act

We first wrote on this topic nearly a year ago[1]. Since then, courts have had an opportunity to interpret some of the provisions of the federal Defend Trade Secrets Act (DTSA). Indeed, since it was signed into law, more than 360 DTSA claims have been filed, with more than 343 complaints filed in federal court. … Continue Reading

The Federal Defend Trade Secrets Act vs. The California Uniform Trade Secrets Act

Although some version of the Uniform Trade Secrets Act (“UTSA”) has widely been adopted by most states, including California, variations among the versions and related judicial interpretation has led to uncertainty—particularly in today’s interstate economy where trade secrets and misappropriation easily may cross multiple states.… Continue Reading

Employers Should Carefully Consider Whether To Sue Former Employees For Threatened Trade Secret Misappropriation Based On Recent California Court of Appeal Decision Awarding Over $1.6 Million To Former Employees

A recent decision by a California Court of Appeal should give employers pause before they use California’s trade secret laws to try to stifle competition in violation of California law. In the case of FLIR Systems, Inc. v. Parrish, the Court of Appeal affirmed a decision by the trial court awarding $1,641,216.78 in attorneys’ fees … Continue Reading

Does Edwards v. Arthur Anderson Bar The Use of Employee Confidentiality Agreements?

In Edwards v. Arthur Andersen, the California Supreme Court reaffirmed California’s strong public policy against covenants not to compete. The primary issue in Edwards was whether the Ninth Circuit’s "narrow restraint" exception was a proper interpretation of California law. Under the narrow restraint exception, employers could enforce noncompetition agreements that did not "entirely preclude" an … Continue Reading

California Court of Appeals Rejects Anti-SLAPP Motion in Trade Secrets/16600 Case

In World Financial Group, Inc. v. HBW Insurance & Financial Services, Inc. the Court of Appeal for the Second Appellate District rejected an Anti-SLAPP motion to strike in a breach of contract, theft of trade secrets, and unfair competition case. The defendants moved to strike the complaint under the Anti-SLAPP statute, claiming that their activities … Continue Reading

Questions Unanswered: The Application of California’s New Trade Secret Jury Instructions

In December, 2007, the California Judicial Council published sample jury instructions for trade secret misappropriation claims.  Some of the instructions were revised and others added in April, 2008 (the Table of Contents directs the reader down to Section 4400 of the instructions entitled “Trade Secret”). The instructions raise a number of interesting unanswered questions that … Continue Reading

Trade Secrets Can Be All In Your Mind

In Al Minor & Associates, Inc. v. Martin, 117 Ohio St.3d 58, 2008-Ohio-292, the Ohio Supreme Court recently held that memorizing information, including specifically client lists, constitutes trade secret misappropriation. The court found that neither the Uniform Trade Secret Act nor the Ohio legislature "intended to distinguish between information that has been reduced to some … Continue Reading
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