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Trade Secrets

  • Trade Secret Disputes: Identifying Mutual Interest in the Face of Major Disagreement
    It’s a challenge to resolve business disputes when emotions run high, which includes almost all trade secret cases. So, I was especially pleased when, in a hard-fought litigation where I had been appointed as a “referee” to resolve discovery disputes, both lawyers eventually reached out to tell me how much ... Read More
    Source: IP Watch DogPublished on 2019-01-25By James Pooley
  • A 2018 Trade Secrets Year in Review
    With the holidays behind us and our calendars flipped over to 2019, we’re taking a look back at some key trade secrets developments of the past year.  Here are some of the big cases and legislative developments from 2018. Massachusetts Adopted the UTSA Starting with legislation, Massachusetts made headlines in ... Read More
    Source: OrrickPublished on 2019-01-11By Catherine Y. Lui
  • A 2018 Trade Secrets Year in Review
    With the holidays behind us and our calendars flipped over to 2019, we’re taking a look back at some key trade secrets developments of the past year.  Here are some of the big cases and legislative developments from 2018. Massachusetts Adopted the UTSA Starting with legislation, Massachusetts made headlines in ... Read More
    Source: OrrickPublished on 2019-01-11By Catherine Y. Lui
  • Possession is not 9/10ths of the Law in Continuing Use Misappropriation Under DTSA
    When Congress enacted the DTSA on May 11, 2016, it left open the issue of whether the DTSA would apply to misappropriation that occurred prior.  As we previously reported, many federal district courts have since found that it does apply if there were continuing acts of misappropriation after enactment of ... Read More
    Source: OrrickPublished on 2018-12-22By Johanna Jacob
  • Possession is not 9/10ths of the Law in Continuing Use Misappropriation Under DTSA
    When Congress enacted the DTSA on May 11, 2016, it left open the issue of whether the DTSA would apply to misappropriation that occurred prior.  As we previously reported, many federal district courts have since found that it does apply if there were continuing acts of misappropriation after enactment of ... Read More
    Source: OrrickPublished on 2018-12-22By Johanna Jacob
  • To Patent or Not to Patent? Preserving Trade Secret Status During Prosecution
    Amid a growing body of unsettled law regarding the patentability of software and business methods patents, companies are increasingly choosing to maintain their valuable innovations as trade secrets rather than risk a rejected patent application. There are pros and cons to both forms of intellectual property protection. However, the decision ... Read More
    Source: OrrickPublished on 2018-12-11By Amy Van Zant
  • To Patent or Not to Patent? Preserving Trade Secret Status During Prosecution
    Amid a growing body of unsettled law regarding the patentability of software and business methods patents, companies are increasingly choosing to maintain their valuable innovations as trade secrets rather than risk a rejected patent application. There are pros and cons to both forms of intellectual property protection. However, the decision ... Read More
    Source: OrrickPublished on 2018-12-11By Amy Van Zant
  • Titanic Texas Trade Secrets Verdict Contested as Colossal Collusion
    A $700 million jury award for trade secrets misappropriation and fraud is the product of a collusive scheme to deceive the jury, claims title insurance and valuations provider Amrock, formerly known as Title Source, in its recent bid for a new trial. The blockbuster award to technology start-up HouseCanary arose ... Read More
    Source: OrrickPublished on 2018-12-05By Harry Moren
  • Titanic Texas Trade Secrets Verdict Contested as Colossal Collusion
    A $700 million jury award for trade secrets misappropriation and fraud is the product of a collusive scheme to deceive the jury, claims title insurance and valuations provider Amrock, formerly known as Title Source, in its recent bid for a new trial. The blockbuster award to technology start-up HouseCanary arose ... Read More
    Source: OrrickPublished on 2018-12-05By Harry Moren
  • The Role of Stupidity in Trade Secrets
    Although every case had its own special facts reflecting unique personalities, technologies and business models, one necessary element was present in every single case. Somebody had done something stupid. And they still do. Sometimes it’s about what people do when getting ready to leave their job and go into competition. ... Read More
    Source: IP Watch DogPublished on 2018-12-02By James Pooley
  • Proprietary Techniques vs. Employee Rights: The struggle to balance competing interests
    It’s football season, so of course we should be talking about beer. Specifically, beer secrets. For fourteen years James Clark had an enviable job at Anheuser-Busch, where he had access to the brewer’s confidential recipes. For unexplained reasons he resigned. Instead of joining a competitor, he went to see a ... Read More
    Source: IP Watch DogPublished on 2018-11-25By James Pooley
  • One Step Away from Uniform: Taking a Closer Look at Massachusetts’ New Trade Secrets Law
    As we reported in August, Massachusetts became the penultimate state to enact the Uniform Trade Secrets Act (UTSA), leaving New York as the sole remaining holdout. Massachusetts’ new law, which took effect October 1, 2018, significantly expanded the state’s existing trade secrets law by broadening protections for trade secret owners ... Read More
    Source: OrrickPublished on 2018-11-21By Yekaterina Reyzis
  • One Step Away from Uniform: Taking a Closer Look at Massachusetts’ New Trade Secrets Law
    As we reported in August, Massachusetts became the penultimate state to enact the Uniform Trade Secrets Act (UTSA), leaving New York as the sole remaining holdout. Massachusetts’ new law, which took effect October 1, 2018, significantly expanded the state’s existing trade secrets law by broadening protections for trade secret owners ... Read More
    Source: OrrickPublished on 2018-11-21By Yekaterina Reyzis
  • Secrets of Social Media: Who owns social media accounts?
    Andy Bitter, a former sports journalist covering the travails and triumphs of the Virginia Tech football team, was sued last month by his former employer, a local newspaper, for trade secret theft. According to the plaintiff Roanoke Times he was obligated by the company’s employee handbook to turn over all ... Read More
    Source: IP Watch DogPublished on 2018-11-12By James Pooley
  • Intent to Use is Sticking “Pointe” In Denial of Preliminary Injunction
    On October 25, the U.S. District Court for the District of Massachusetts denied motions for injunctive relief in a case involving trade secrets allegedly stolen by a departing consultant using his personal computer to sync with the company’s Dropbox.  This case established (1) Massachusetts’ newly enacted Uniform Trade Secrets Act ... Read More
    Source: OrrickPublished on 2018-11-06By Johanna Jacob
  • Intent to Use is Sticking “Pointe” In Denial of Preliminary Injunction
    On October 25, the U.S. District Court for the District of Massachusetts denied motions for injunctive relief in a case involving trade secrets allegedly stolen by a departing consultant using his personal computer to sync with the company’s Dropbox.  This case established (1) Massachusetts’ newly enacted Uniform Trade Secrets Act ... Read More
    Source: OrrickPublished on 2018-11-06By Johanna Jacob
  • Trade Secrets: Intellectual Property Considerations and Guidance for Start-Ups
    Trade secret holders must take reasonable precautions to maintain the secrecy of their secrets, such as keeping such information on a “need-to-know” basis. Companies should have clear IP, confidentiality, and employment agreements describing which types of information are considered trade secrets. These agreements should also describe an employee’s responsibility for ... Read More
    Source: IP Watch DogPublished on 2018-11-03By Chris Kokoska
  • T-R-NO: Nevada District Court Denies Motion for TRO Despite Evidence of Mass Download of Company Files and Steps Taken to Cover Tracks
    Our readers have seen enough of our blog posts to be familiar with the classic ex-employee trade secrets theft scenario:  employee downloads confidential files to his personal computer; employee attempts to cover his tracks with deletions of those files; employee resigns from the company to work for a competitor. When ... Read More
    Source: OrrickPublished on 2018-10-26By Michael Weil
  • T-R-NO: Nevada District Court Denies Motion for TRO Despite Evidence of Mass Download of Company Files and Steps Taken to Cover Tracks
    Our readers have seen enough of our blog posts to be familiar with the classic ex-employee trade secrets theft scenario:  employee downloads confidential files to his personal computer; employee attempts to cover his tracks with deletions of those files; employee resigns from the company to work for a competitor. When ... Read More
    Source: OrrickPublished on 2018-10-26By Michael Weil
  • Fishing for ESI
    When National Fish and Seafood’s (NFS) head of research left for a new opportunity at Tampa Bay Fisheries, she may not have taken just her talents to the competition.  According to NFS’ lawsuit, the former employee transferred thousands of files containing confidential and proprietary information prior to her departure from ... Read More
    Source: OrrickPublished on 2018-10-20By Glenn Dassoff
  • Fishing for ESI
    When National Fish and Seafood’s (NFS) head of research left for a new opportunity at Tampa Bay Fisheries, she may not have taken just her talents to the competition.  According to NFS’ lawsuit, the former employee transferred thousands of files containing confidential and proprietary information prior to her departure from ... Read More
    Source: OrrickPublished on 2018-10-20By Glenn Dassoff
  • Don’t Rock the Boat: Eleventh Circuit Sinks Boatmaker’s Trade Secrets Claims Against Rival
    On August 7, 2018, the Eleventh Circuit affirmed summary judgment in favor of defendant in Yellowfin Yachts v. Barker Boatworks, LLC. Sending the rival high-end boatmakers back to shore after a two-year dispute, the Eleventh Circuit concluded, among other things, that plaintiff had not done enough to maintain the secrecy ... Read More
    Source: OrrickPublished on 2018-10-11By Roland Chang
  • Don’t Rock the Boat: Eleventh Circuit Sinks Boatmaker’s Trade Secrets Claims Against Rival
    On August 7, 2018, the Eleventh Circuit affirmed summary judgment in favor of defendant in Yellowfin Yachts v. Barker Boatworks, LLC. Sending the rival high-end boatmakers back to shore after a two-year dispute, the Eleventh Circuit concluded, among other things, that plaintiff had not done enough to maintain the secrecy ... Read More
    Source: OrrickPublished on 2018-10-11By Roland Chang
  • In Hawaii, “Aloha” May Mean Both Hello and Goodbye, But When Employees Leave, Who Owns the Customer Relationships?
    As we’ve observed over the years, when addressing trade secrets claims based on customer lists, courts have landed all over the place. These cases involve difficult questions such as when an employee develops relationships on behalf of Company A but then leaves for Company B, who “owns” those relationships? A ... Read More
    Source: OrrickPublished on 2018-09-29By Howard Ullman
  • In Hawaii, “Aloha” May Mean Both Hello and Goodbye, But When Employees Leave, Who Owns the Customer Relationships?
    As we’ve observed over the years, when addressing trade secrets claims based on customer lists, courts have landed all over the place. These cases involve difficult questions such as when an employee develops relationships on behalf of Company A but then leaves for Company B, who “owns” those relationships? A ... Read More
    Source: OrrickPublished on 2018-09-29By Howard Ullman
  • Trade Secret Sparks Beer Brawl in the Ninth Circuit: When is Your Word Enough?
    On September 13, the Ninth Circuit heard oral arguments on an issue of first impression in Anheuser-Busch Cos. v. James Clark, No. 17-15591 (9th Cir. 2015). Anheuser-Busch filed a complaint in the Eastern District of California against former employee James Clark, alleging that he violated California’s Uniform Trade Secrets Act ... Read More
    Source: OrrickPublished on 2018-09-22By Toni K. Lambert
  • #SecretTweets: Protecting Social Media as a Trade Secret?
    Social media today connects people more than ever. It can be a means to bring together long-lost friends, new acquaintances, and love interests, or the public with celebrities, sports teams, new products, and companies—to name just a few. It can be an effective way to market images and products, as ... Read More
    Source: OrrickPublished on 2018-09-08By Michael Weil
  • Massachusetts Enacts New Reforms on Noncompetes, Becomes 49th State to Enact UTSA
    Just two days after TSW’s inaugural post, we brought you news of Texas becoming the 48th state to enact some form of the Uniform Trade Secrets Act (UTSA). Now, roughly five years and one federal trade secrets statute later, Massachusetts has become the 49th state, leaving New York as the ... Read More
    Source: OrrickPublished on 2018-08-28By James McQuade
  • Banking on Standard Operating Protocols as Trade Secrets
    In a testament to the wide breadth of potential trade secret protection to any number of industries, a court in the Western District of Washington denied a 12(b)(6) motion to dismiss Seattle Sperm Bank’s (SSB) DTSA and Washington Uniform Trade Secrets Act claims against its prior employees who set up a ... Read More
    Source: OrrickPublished on 2018-08-21By Denise M. Mingrone
  • OPEN SECRETS: Can Business Methods Based on Blockchain Technology Constitute Trade Secrets?
    Several months ago, we reported on the potential to protect trade secrets by encrypting information using blockchain technology.  Then, earlier this month, we reported on an order out of the Southern District of California involving “CryptoKitties,” a decentralized application (or “DApp”) built on the Ethereum blockchain (using the ERC721 protocol) ... Read More
    Source: OrrickPublished on 2018-08-13By Alex Fields