Category Archives: Trade Secrets

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The Defend Trade Secrets Act of 2016

States have long provided protection for trade secrets, with most having enacted a version of the Uniform Trade Secrets Act (“UTSA”). The UTSA supplies a framework for imposing liability with respect to the misappropriation of trade secrets. Now, after several years of attempts, the federal government is close to enacting its own version of civil … Continue Reading

If It Seems Like Florida’s Restrictive Covenant Statute Is Too Good to Be True…That’s Because It May Be

When it comes to the principle of freedom to enter into contracts, “freedom’s just another word” for “as long as you don’t bump up against a more important legal principle.” Indeed, the “freedom of contract is a qualified and not an absolute right.” Chicago, Burlington & Quincy R.R. Co. v. McGuire, 219 U.S. 549, 567 … Continue Reading

California Federal Court Finds The Computer Fraud And Abuse Act Is Not A Misappropriation Statute

Unauthorized access to electronic information can give rise to liability under The Computer Fraud and Abuse Act (the “CFAA”). In addition to state law causes of action that may be asserted, such as trade secret misappropriation, the CFAA provides a private right of action against unauthorized users who access a computer “without authorization” or who … Continue Reading

If You Can’t Get a Non-Compete, Why Not Sell the List?

The proposition that a customer list can constitute a trade secret is well settled and unremarkable. But because California strongly protects the right to compete, a former employee can lawfully use a trade secret customer list to “announce” a new business affiliation. The question of whether an announcement is a solicitation, or a cover-up for … Continue Reading

Do You Want to Know [How to Protect] a Secret? How Public Information May Be a Trade Secret

Half the battle in protecting your trade secrets is knowing when you’ve got a trade secret, which may be a bit more challenging when your “secret” is public. The familiar two-part definition of a trade secret under the Uniform Trade Secrets Act is “information” that (1) must derive independent economic value, actual or potential, from … Continue Reading

Social Media and Protecting Trade Secrets – California Pitfalls

Many companies in today’s world encourage (and even require) their employee’s to use social media in promoting the company’s business and seeking customers. What happens when the employee leaves? Can the company require that the employee not use any of the information they publicly used during their employment?  First question – who owns the social … Continue Reading

Employers Contemplating A Misappropriation of Trade Secrets Should Think Twice in California

Employers Contemplating A Misappropriation of Trade Secrets Claim Without Evidence of Actual or Threatened Use Should Think Twice In California In California, a departing employee’s mere possession of trade secrets is an insufficient basis upon which to pursue a claim for trade secrets misappropriation. In addition to possession, a former employer must demonstrate actual use or … Continue Reading

What HRC’s Use of BYOD at DoS Means for PYTS – Protecting Your Trade Secrets

With all the to-do about former Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton’s work-related use of her personal email account and server, little has been said about what such use means for private employers. Politics aside, the controversy underscores a challenge that employers face when they allow employees to use personal devices for work purposes because … Continue Reading
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