Category Archives: Confidential Information

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Trade Secret Dispute Brewing In Minnesota

The popularity of craft beers has skyrocketed.  A report cited in Fortune claims that microbreweries’ market share increased from 5.7 percent in 2011 to 12 percent in 2015. This growth has led to competition as microbreweries capitalize on the growing appetite for their product. Unsurprisingly, competition has led to allegations of unlawful conduct. Summit Brewing Company, one of the … Continue Reading

Sixth Circuit Highlights Importance of Non-Disclosure Agreements

The Sixth Circuit recently held that an employer’s “playbook” was protected from disclosure and use, even if the business information was not a “trade secret.” (Orthofix, Inc. v. Hunter, No. 15-3216 (Nov. 17, 2015))  Fortunately for Orthofix, its employment agreements included non-disclosure provisions. The Sixth Circuit found that those provisions protected more than just “trade secrets” and that … Continue Reading

A Look Inside The Sony Hack

Fortune Magazine released its first installment in a three-part story on what it’s calling “The Hack of the Century.” The story on the Sony hack is turning into a cautionary tale on what companies should not do to protect their computer networks. And it’s worth taking the time to read this compelling and in-depth look into what may … Continue Reading

On the Hill: Congress “Attacks” Cyber-Security

Cyber-security and data breaches are hot-button issues that recently received some well-deserved attention from the federal government. Last year we posted about the FBI’s efforts to combat economic espionage and trade secret theft. At that time, the Assistant Director of the FBI—who was testifying before a Senate subcommittee—offered salient advice on how American companies could … Continue Reading

Forum Selection Clause Causes Roadblock In Trade Secret Case

The recent decision in Wellogix, Inc. v. SAP America, Inc., No. 14-0741 (S.D. Tex. Nov. 10, 2014), demonstrates that federal courts can rely on contractual forum selection clauses to dismiss or transfer trade secret theft cases. It’s a reminder to weigh how these clauses could impact litigation strategies and to consider the specific language negotiated … Continue Reading

Can You Go Too Far in Protecting Trade Secrets?

This post was originally published as an article in Volume 23 of the Louisiana Employment Law Letter. The U.S. Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals in New Orleans recently held that an employer’s policy for protecting its confidential and proprietary information was unlawful under the National Labor Relations Act (NLRA). Specifically, the Fifth Circuit held that a … Continue Reading

Louisiana Legislature Passes Employee “Password Protection Law”

Perhaps the most significant of the employment law bills passed by the Louisiana Legislature this year is the “Personal Online Account Privacy Protection Act” signed into by Governor Jindal on May 23, 2014.  Louisiana is now the 17th state to enact a “password protection law” aimed at protecting an employee’s personal online content included in … Continue Reading

Tips For Protecting Against Unfair Competition From Within

This is Part One in a three-part series on preventing unfair competition and trade secret theft by former employees.   It’s an all too familiar story. A company spends substantial time and money training employees to run and manage a specific business division. The employees receive access to the company’s confidential information—customer contacts, pricing information, … Continue Reading

Bring Your Own Device… But Beware

Over the last decade, smart phones, laptops, and tablets have become essential components for a successful business model. Many business leaders correlate increased mobile connectivity with increased productivity. In theory, remote access to company data allows employees to efficiently work anytime, anywhere. “Bring Your Own Device” (BYOD) policies have emerged as one of the most popular options … Continue Reading

Trading Cards or Trading Secrets?

Are published baseball card prices protectible as trade secrets? That’s one question raised in a lawsuit recently filed in Seattle, Washington. Beckett Media, LLC, a publisher of pricing and other information on collectibles and specialty products, sued Check Out My, LLC, the owner of COMC.com, which offers consignment services for collectible cards and other memorabilia. … Continue Reading

Texas Court Dissolves Injunction Vaguely Defining “Confidential Information”

An employer in Texas did nearly everything right to protect its stolen trade secrets—except adequately specify what the injunction restrained the employee from doing.  The opinion in Lasser v. Amistco Separation Products Inc., No. 01-13-00690 (Tex. App.—Houston Feb. 6, 2014), highlights the need for clearly defining restraints in any injunctive relief sought. Amistco Separation Products, … Continue Reading

FDA Spy Games: Employee Monitoring Requires Legal Advice

The Office of Inspector General and a joint staff for two ranking Republican lawmakers recently issued critical reports on the FDA’s 2010-2011 employee monitoring for trade-secret leaks (see OIG and Joint Staff). They criticize the FDA for essentially “spying” on its employees without first assessing whether the computer monitoring may violate federal wiretapping laws and … Continue Reading
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