In recent years, there has been a growing trend amongst litigants of protecting documents filed as part of the judicial record from public view by sealing them by agreement under a protective order.  However, a recent opinion out of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit criticizes this now-common practice. 
Continue Reading The Fifth Circuit Criticizes the Practice of Sealing Documents by Agreement

The newly-enacted Defend Trade Secrets Act (DTSA) represents a significant new weapon for companies to prosecute trade secret violations. Among other features, the DTSA creates a federal cause of action for theft of trade secrets and a provision for judicial ex parte seizure of stolen property, double damages, and attorneys’ fees. Please join Hunton & Williams LLP for a complimentary webinar on August 3, 2016, 1:00 p.m. – 2:00 p.m. (EDT) that will cover the important aspects of the law, including the language that needs to be inserted into employment and confidentiality/non-disclosure agreements to ensure your company can take full advantage of the law.
Continue Reading The Defend Trade Secrets Act And How Employers Can Take Advantage Of It

The recently enacted Defend Trade Secrets Act of 2016 (DTSA) provides a new form of expedited relief in federal court for owners of misappropriated trade secrets through an ex parte seizure of property. In “extraordinary circumstances,” DTSA permits a court to issue an order to authorize law enforcement officials to seize property – without advanced notice to the accused – in order to prevent the propagation or dissemination of the trade secret.
Continue Reading Law Enforcement Can Seize Stolen Trade Secrets – A New Tool

As we previously reported, the newly-enacted Defend Trade Secrets Act (DTSA) represents a significant new weapon for companies to prosecute trade secret violations. Among other features, the DTSA’s nationwide reach and its provision for judicial seizure, double damages, and attorneys’ fees provide a much more robust enforcement and remedy scheme than is currently available under many state laws. In order for employers to take full advantage of all that the DTSA has to offer, employers who have trade secret or confidentiality restrictions in their agreements with employees and independent contractors must comply with the “immunity notice” requirement of the DTSA.
Continue Reading The Defend Trade Secrets Act’s Immunity Notice Requirement – Do Your Employment Agreements Comply?

Congress gave companies a new weapon to fight trade secret theft this week. President Obama signed a law that addresses several issues that often mire trade secret litigation – cross border battles when multiple states are involved, venue and choice of law disputes, and lack of ability to seize trade secrets before they escape a state or the United States.
Continue Reading The War Against Trade Secret Theft – A New Weapon

In Holton v. Physician Oncology Services, LP, et al., Case No. S13A0012 (May 6, 2013), the Georgia Supreme Court limited the use and application of the inevitable disclosure doctrine by declining to recognize it as an independent cause of action. 

The inevitable disclosure doctrine allows an employer to restrict former employees from working for a competitor by demonstrating that the former employees will necessarily rely upon knowledge of the employer’s trade secrets in performing their new job duties. 

Continue Reading Georgia Supreme Court Denies Application Of Inevitable Disclosure Doctrine As Stand-Alone Claim

The growth of social media as a low-cost, widely-accessible form of communication has made it an ideal tool for businesses large and small to market themselves and reach out en mass to consumers in a manner more direct, personal, and in many ways effective than traditional media.  With Americans spending more time on-line than ever before, the value of such social media accounts can be considerable.  So when an employee who has used social media to develop his employer’s business and goodwill resigns, who owns the account, the contacts, and valuable consumer data that come with it?

Continue Reading Saving Face Over Facebook and Other Social Media: Ownership of Social Media Accounts Used to Promote Business

Hunton & Williams partners Laura Franze and Roland Juarez recently participated in a panel of California employment law experts to discuss various cutting edge issues in labor and employment law, including the impact of social media, new trends in non-compete agreements and trade secret protections, the ripple effect of the Ninth Circuit’s ruling in Dukes

In an effort to ride out the current economic storm, many businesses find themselves downsizing, conducting mass layoffs, and even declaring Chapter 11 bankruptcy in an effort to survive.  These tough decisions inevitably lead to disgruntled former employees, whose ethics tend to take a backseat when it comes to “getting even” with their employers. 

Continue Reading Downsizing & Data Loss – The Alarming Connection

In California, employers litigating claims for misappropriation of trade secrets must identify those trade secrets with “reasonable particularity” before pursuing discovery.  See Cal. Civ. Proc. Code § 2010.210.  There is frequently an early litigation battle over what "reasonable particularity" means.  Earlier this month, a California Appellate Court recently analyzed this principle in Perlan Therapeutics, Inc. v. Superior Court (Nexbio, Inc.).  The Court initially emphasized the trial court’s broad discretion under section 2019.210.  The Court also warned against the use of catch-all language in the identification statement to preserve the ability to add additional trade secrets to the list after the plaintiff has commenced discovery.

Continue Reading California Appellate Court Rules That Trade Secrets Must Be Identified with Reasonable Particularity