Getting Hammered: California Trial Court Finds for E*Trade in Long-Running Misappropriation Case Where Plaintiff Destroyed the Evidence

In a fifteen-year tale of how not to protect your emerging company’s trade secrets when dealing with the big fish, on September 16, 2015, a California trial court denied a company’s bid for royalties for technology misappropriated by E*Trade in the early days of wireless trading. With multiple trials and trips to the court of appeals, and servers containing evidence being smashed with a hammer, the case underscores the importance of robust non-disclosure agreements and of thoroughly documenting your trade secrets. Read More

Orrick Launches New Cybersecurity Blog

We’re excited to announce Orrick’s new sister blog, Trust Anchor!

Trust Anchor highlights current topics in cybersecurity and data privacy, such as recent cases, legislative and regulatory developments, emerging standards, risk management strategies, and insurance coverage.  It’s not just news.  Instead, it aims to review new developments and offer actionable privacy and cybersecurity intel and strategies. Read More

Defend Trade Secrets Act of 2015 Faces Criticism 2.0

On August 28, 2015, TSW continued its coverage of the 2015 Defend Trade Secrets Act (“2015 DTSA”), introduced in both the House and Senate on July 28, 2015, with its comparison of the 2015 DTSA to last year’s failed 2014 House Bill. In today’s post, TSW continues with its extensive coverage of the 2015 DTSA, detailing both the criticisms it is facing and the progress it has made in Congress. Read More

Trade Secret Sauce: Trade Secrets, Not Copyright, Protect Chefs

While they say that a grand jury could “indict a ham sandwich,” the First Circuit recently reminded chefs that you can’t copyright a chicken sandwich. Specifically, a former employee of a Puerto Rican Church’s Chicken franchisee sued the franchisee for copyright infringement for the recipe to the “Pechu” sandwich, a sandwich he and his wife claimed to have created in the late-80s [1]. After hunting and pecking over the relevant authorities, the First Circuit clucked in disapproval, reminding the culinary world that the recipe for the sandwich at issue, no matter how tasty, is not copyrightable. Read More

Trade Secrets Protected From Disclosure Under FOIA…Except For When They Aren’t

We have previously reported about protecting trade secrets from disclosure after a FOIA request here and here. There is something to be said for immediate action and intervening to protect your trade secrets, but sometimes that just isn’t enough.

In a recent decision, the Central District of California denied a protective order for several documents submitted to the government that Exxon contended contain trade secrets. Read More

U.S. Considers Sanctions Against China For Cyber Hacking And Trade Secret Misappropriation

You may have missed it this past weekend, but reports indicate the United States is considering sanctioning Chinese companies and individuals who have benefited from their government’s alleged cyber hacking of U.S. trade secrets. The Washington Post, quoting unidentified officials, states the “unprecedented” package of sanctions is part of a larger strategy to expand the “administration’s public response to the rising wave of cyber-economic espionage initiated by Chinese hackers” and to confront malicious cyber actors. Read More

Throwback Thursday: Why Trade Secret Theft Isn’t Just a Digital Problem And What Businesses Can Do About It

With stories of cyberattacks and data breaches on a seemingly endless loop, businesses and governments have been doubling down on their efforts to protect digital information and assets.  But, in some industries, the greatest threat might still be a pair of quick hands.  For instance, in the restaurant industry, opening the kitchen doors to a new employee creates real risks.  As we’ve discussed, sometimes the decision whether to print or download can have major legal ramifications.  And with computer forensics technology growing in leaps and bounds, sometimes an old-school paper trail might be more enticing to would-be perps than a digital one.  That said, the FBI has a track record of turning up bags of shredded documents in grocery store dumpsters. Read More

The New and Improved Defend Trade Secrets Act of 2015! Now Featuring a Lockbox

On July 31, 2015, TSW continued our reporting of the continuing saga of Congress’ attempts to establish a federal right of civil action for trade secrets misappropriation by covering the introduction of the “Defend Trade Secrets Act of 2015” (“2015 DTSA”). The 2015 DTSA was introduced in identical form in the House (H.R. 3326) by Rep. Doug Collins (R-GA) and in the Senate (S. 1890) by Sen. Orrin Hatch (R-UT). In prior posts, we covered the introduction of the Defend Trade Secrets Act of 2014 in both the House (the “2014 House Bill”) and the Senate and outlined the differences between the two, noting that the 2014 House Bill was much more protective of defendants facing ex parte seizure orders. Read More

A Preview of the CFAA Arguments in United States v. Nosal, Part II: Could “Phishing” be a Factor?

Oral arguments for the next round in United States v. Nosal have been set for October 20, 2015 at the Ninth Circuit in San Francisco.  So we figured it may be a good time to review both sides’ arguments related to the Computer Fraud and Abuse Act. After doing so, it seems to us that one topic not given any consideration in the briefs, but that may play a role during oral argument is the phenomenon known as phishing schemes, and how such schemes might be compared and contrasted with the scheme alleged in this case. Read More

The Fine Line Between Spying and Strategy: Competitive Intelligence’s Legal Limits and Practical Considerations

Although the market trends may change faster than ever today, companies have been gathering competitive intelligence (“CI”) since the dawn of capitalism. It’s not a new concept, but there are new ways to do it—some more strategic than others.

To set the record straight, CI is not a corporate game of “I Spy.” It does not involve theft, electronic eavesdropping, hacking, bribery, or hiring a competitor’s employees to divulge confidential information. CI is the tactical gathering of market and competitor information that can be used to identify risks, opportunities, and changing conditions in an industry. Read More