Category Archives: Trade Secret

Subscribe to Trade Secret RSS Feed

Protecting Trade Secrets and Confidential Information from the Side Effects of the Coronavirus

The coronavirus has had an incredible negative impact across the globe. Besides the obvious medical issues, the virus has multiple side effects: closed schools, devastated the economy, multiple “stay at home” orders across the country, etc. In order to continue to do business and comply with the stay at home orders, many employers are allowing … Continue Reading

Federal Court Rules Damages under Trade Secret Act Can Extend beyond United States Borders

After a trial that lasted more than three months, the eight-person jury empaneled by the Chicago-based court took only two and a half hours to deliberate, siding with Motorola and awarding them everything their attorneys had asked for in damages. The verdict came out to a shocking $764.6 million, or just under $350 million in … Continue Reading

Federal Court Rules Trade Secret Damages Can Extend beyond the U.S. border

In a high-profile trade secret case, a federal court in Chicago ruled that the federal Defend Trade Secrets Act (DTSA) extends beyond the U.S. and covers actions and damages that occur in other countries. Background. Back in 2017, telecommunications and technology conglomerate Motorola Solutions, Inc. brought a lawsuit against rival radio manufacturer Hytera Communicatoins Corporation, … Continue Reading

Jury Finds Uber Must Face $1B Trade Secrets Suit

A California jury recently concluded that an inventor timely filed a trade secret lawsuit against Uber seeking $1 billion in damages. The inventor’s lawsuit claims that Uber and its founder stole his business concept, which the inventor alleges he shared sometime in 2006 under a promise that Uber’s founder would keep the concept confidential. Around … Continue Reading

Judge allows Chinese Company to view American Company’s Trade Secrets in Hong Kong as Part of Groundbreaking DOJ Litigation

A federal judge in the Northern District of California ruled that Chinese state-owned Fujian Jinhua Integrated Circuit Co. and their Taiwanese partners United Microelectronics Corp. were legally entitled to review trade secret information they allegedly misappropriated from Idaho-based Micron Technology Inc. U.S. v. United Microelectronics Corp., No. 18-CR-465 (N.D. Cal.).  The ruling came as part … Continue Reading

Not So Fast And Furious – Executive Indicted for Stealing Self-Driving Car Trade Secrets

Back in March, 2017, we posted about a civil lawsuit against Anthony Levandowski, who allegedly sped off with a trove of trade secrets after resigning from Waymo LLC, Google’s self-driving technology company. Waymo not only sued Levandowski, but also his new employer, Uber, and another co-conspirator, Lior Ron. Since our initial post, things have gotten progressively … Continue Reading

Louisiana Supreme Court Allows Employer-Friendly Decision in Non-Compete Case to Stand

Drafting an enforceable (and meaningful) non-compete provision in an employment agreement can be difficult. Many states, like Louisiana, recognize that non-compete provisions in employment agreements raise a serious public policy concern. In Louisiana, this public policy is set forth in La. Rev. Stat. 23:921. It requires non-compete provisions to set forth specific parishes or municipalities in … Continue Reading

AT&T Sues Consulting Firm for Trade Secret Theft and Breach of Contract

AT&T Services, Inc. and its subsidiary, DirectTV, LLC (collectively, “AT&T”) sued Max Retrans, LLC (“Max Retrans”), a consulting company that works with local broadcasting companies to sell their content to Pay-TV service providers for re-broadcast. Background. Local broadcasting companies—like the local affiliates of ABC, FOX, CBS, and NBC—are licensed by the FCC to broadcast their television … Continue Reading

Supreme Court Expands Confidentiality Protections for Private Companies

In Food Marketing Institute v. Argus Leader Media, the U.S. Supreme Court held that government agencies can withhold a private company’s records from public disclosure under Exemption 4 of the Freedom of Information Act (“FOIA”) if the company has treated the information as confidential and also received promises from the government agency to maintain the information’s … Continue Reading

Do You Need Hard Proof of Data Theft To Bring Trade Secret Claims? Maybe Not

The large majority of employment based trade secret claims start with an employer uncovering evidence that its employee or former employee improperly downloaded confidential business information. But a recent case in Boston illustrates that such evidence may not be necessary to bring a trade secret or unfair competition claim. The Dispute. In Amgen USA Inc. v. … Continue Reading

Fifth Circuit Rules Louisiana Trade Secret Claim Does Not Preempt Claim For Conversion Of Confidential Info

The Louisiana Supreme Court has not addressed whether a claim under the Louisiana Uniform Trade Secrets Act (LUTSA) precludes a claim for conversion of confidential information. But the U.S. Fifth Circuit recently did in  Brad Services, LLC v. Irex Corporation, No. 17-30660 (October 17, 2018), finding that these conversion claims are not preempted. Factual Background. Brad … Continue Reading

Federal Courts in Louisiana Recognize Trend in Trade Secret Cases

Lawsuits alleging trade secret theft raise challenging discovery concerns, as they almost always arise in the context of an employee leaving to work for a direct competitor. Courts have struggled to balance a trade secret plaintiff’s right to obtain discovery with a competitor’s interest in protecting its own confidential business information. This balancing is particularly … Continue Reading

Louisiana Appellate Court Addresses Customer Lists and Irreparable Harm In Trade Secret Case

A recent Louisiana court of appeal decision provides guidance on two issues that frequently arise in trade secret cases. Southern Marsh Collection, LLC v. State Traditions, LLC, 2017 WL 4985217 (La. App. 1st Cir. 2017) addresses the recurring question of when customer lists qualify as trade secrets and—somewhat surprisingly—holds the Louisiana Uniform Trade Secrets Act … Continue Reading

Google vs. Uber: Tech Giants Square Off Over Driverless IP

Waymo LLC — formerly Google’s self-driving car program and currently a stand-alone company owned by Google’s parent company — is now in fierce competition with Uber to develop and capitalize on driverless technology. This battle intensified on February 23, 2017, when Waymo filed a lawsuit against Uber Technologies, Inc., Ottomotto LLC, and Otto Trucking LLC. Trade Secret Claims. … Continue Reading

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

Obama Signs Federal Trade Secret Act

Today, President Obama signed the Defend Trade Secrets Act (DTSA) into law. The DTSA amends the existing Economic Espionage Act that was previously limited to criminal cases on behalf of the Department of Justice. The DTSA now allows companies to pursue trade secret claims in federal court under federal law. A copy of DTSA can be found … Continue Reading

House Passes Federal Trade Secrets Bill

We recently reported that the U.S. Senate passed the Defend Trade Secret Act (“DTSA”), which would create a federal private cause of action for trade secret theft. This week was the U.S. House of Representatives turn. The House overwhelmingly voted to approve the DTSA by a margin of 410-2. The bill is now headed to President Obama, whose administration has indicated strong … Continue Reading

Federal Trade Secrets Bill Passes Senate

On Monday, the Senate unanimously passed the Defend Trade Secrets Act (“DTSA”) — a bill that would allow companies to pursue trade secret theft through civil litigation in federal court. This long-awaited measure is a major step towards elevating trade secrets to the level of federal protection enjoyed by the other intellectual property, such as patents, … Continue Reading

The Donald Offers A Lesson To Trade Secret Litigators

This may come as a shock. But Donald Trump has unwittingly offered trade secret litigators a teachable moment. It arose in his recent squabble with fellow presidential hopeful Senator Lindsey Graham. After Trump mocked Senator John McCain for being a POW, Graham told CNN that Trump was “becoming a jackass” and later called Trump “the world’s biggest jackass” … Continue Reading

A Trade Secret Reminder — Take “Reasonable Steps”

The Center for Responsible Enterprise and Trade (CREATe.org) just released a new White Paper, “Reasonable Steps” To Protect Trade Secrets: Leading Practices in an Evolving Legal Landscape. It’s a must read for companies grappling with how best to protect and manage their trade secrets. We have discussed a previous CREATe report that discussed the devastating economic effect that … Continue Reading

Hulk Hogan, Sex Tapes, And The FBI: Lesson Learned

When the celebrity gossip blog Gawker decided to post highlights from a sex tape starring Hulk Hogan, it never thought that decision would lead to suing the FBI. But that’s what happened—and just recently, Gawker prevailed. A federal judge in Florida ordered that the FBI and the Executive Office of United States Attorneys (EOUSA) must respond to Gawker’s FOIA request—even though the agencies argued … Continue Reading
LexBlog