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Court Rules That Company’s Facebook Snooping Does Not Prevent Trade Secrets Injunction

Can a former employer’s alleged misconduct defeat a request for injunctive relief against former employees when those departing workers take confidential information and clients to another employer? A federal appeals court recently addressed this question in Scherer Design Group, LLC v. Ahead Engineering LLC and decided not to apply the “unclean hands” doctrine against the employer in a trade secrets case, clearing the way for the injunction. While not a suggested approach that you should take without consulting with your attorney, the case does present an interesting situation that all employers should familiarize themselves with.

#MeToo: In Defense of Nondisclosure Agreements

Nondisclosure Agreements (NDAs) have recently come under fire within the #MeToo debate. Opponents of the NDA argue that its sole (and negative) purpose is to silence victims of sexual harassment and allow those accused to continue to harass others. NDA proponents, however, offer a different perspective. An NDA is one of many mechanisms used to defend against allegations that are in dispute. It can provide a smooth transition to resolution rather than litigation, and can benefit both the alleged victim and the employer.

Competing Views on Non-Compete Agreements: Changes May be Coming Across the Nation to Employers’ and Business Purchasers’ Ability to Limit Competition

Employers often place limitations on their employees’ ability to compete following the termination of the employment relationship. The justification for restraints on trade is that employers have a protectable interest in their customer and vendor relationships, the goodwill associated with their brand, and their confidential information and trade secrets.

Negotiating and Enforcing Anti-Disparagement Clauses: A Primer for Employers

Severance and litigation settlement agreements often include a provision that prohibits one or more of the parties from making “disparaging” statements about the other. Such non-disparagement clauses are commonly used, but infrequently litigated. Consequently, employers negotiating these terms (as well as their counsel) may not be familiar with how they might be triggered and the practical effects of trying to enforce them. Here are a few thoughts for employers considering incorporating non-disparagement clauses in their settlement agreements.

Federal Trade Commission Workshop: Non-Competes in the Crosshairs?

The use of non-competition agreements between employers and employees has raised concerns at the Federal Trade Commission (FTC). On January 9, 2020, the agency held a program “to examine whether there is a sufficient legal basis and empirical economic support to promulgate a Commission Rule that would restrict the use of non-compete clauses in employer-employee employment contracts.”

Physician Non-Compete Agreements Present Challenges, Potential Controversy

When it comes to physician employment agreements, non-compete provisions can be controversial and tricky. The use of these agreements is nonetheless increasing and evolving as hospitals and other groups try to protect their investments in successful medical practices, especially those that they helped launch and nurture. After assuming the risks and costs of building a medical practice, they obviously do not want to see employed doctors move their practices (and patients) to a competitor.

Senate Committee Holds Hearing On Recently Proposed Federal Non-Compete Bans

On November 14, 2019, the U.S. Senate Committee on Small Business and Entrepreneurship held a hearing to examine recently proposed bills that would regulate non-compete agreements at the federal level. Discussion during the hearing indicates that it may have the necessary support to move forward.

A Renewed Attempt in Congress to Eliminate Non-Compete Agreements

A bipartisan bill aimed at generally banning non-compete agreements across the country has been introduced in the Senate by Senators Chris Murphy (D-Conn.) and Todd Young (R-Ind.). The Workforce Mobility Act of 2019, which closely tracks the Democrat-led Workforce Mobility Act of 2018, is a stark contrast to the limited and more measured approaches that have predominated at the state level.

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.

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.
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