These are Not the Trade Secrets You’re Looking For: Star Wars Model Maker Sues Ex-Employees for Misappropriation

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In a tale of alleged betrayal and misappropriation of trade secrets in a courtroom (not) far, far away, a pioneering company in the area of special effects has sued its former employees and a vendor, claiming that they conspired to recreate the company’s primary business under a new name, erasing the evidence on the way out. The alleged tale is an illustration of how vulnerable a company and its trade secrets can be in times of ownership and business transition, especially when the company relies mostly on a single customer. READ MORE

Brexit’s Potential Impact for Trade Secrets in the UK

5Jul2016 (2)

To the surprise of many and the dismay of more than sixteen million United Kingdom voters, the previously unthinkable has occurred, the UK has voted to leave the European Union. In a tightly contested referendum, voters have chosen to end UK’s time as an EU member. Though the referendum is not technically legally binding, most expect the government to heed the voice of the people. READ MORE

Founding Fathers (or cases) of Trade Secret Law: A Look Back in Celebration of Independence Day

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Over the last few weeks, TSW has reported extensively on the first few cases brought under the new Defend Trade Secrets Act. But, given our recent celebration of our nation’s birthday and the day Will Smith saved the planet from alien attack, TSW takes a brief look back at the foundation and birth of trade secret law in the United States. READ MORE

Early Returns (Part 3 of 3): California Federal Court First to Rule Under New Defend Trade Secrets Act of 2016

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Here at TSW, we continue to watch closely the case law developing under the new Defend Trade Secrets Act of 2016 (DTSA), which attempts to harmonize divergent state laws by creating a single federal framework for trade secrets misappropriation lawsuits. The Northern District of California appears to have won the race to be the first federal court to enter a written decision under the DTSA. The early rulings in this case already give us some food for thought when it comes to litigating trade secret claims under the DTSA. READ MORE

Early Returns (Part 2 of 3): The DTSA Lifts Off

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(Editorial Note: This is the second in our two-part series exploring recent litigation under the newly-enacted Defend Trade Secrets Act.)

We’ve been tracking the development of the Defend Trade Secrets Act (“DTSA”) for a while on TSW. It was only last month that President Obama signed the dotted line, and the DTSA became law. Now, Space Data has filed suit against Google for patent infringement, misappropriation of trade secrets under the DTSA, misappropriation of trade secrets under the California Uniform Trade Secrets Act, and breach of contract. We’ll be watching closely to see how the Northern District Court of California handles one of the first cases under the DTSA. READ MORE

Early Returns (Part 1 of 3): 3D Printing Company Sues under New Defend Trade Secrets Act

-Jun-16

(Editorial Note: This is our first of a two-part series exploring recent litigation under the newly-enacted Defend Trade Secrets Act.)

In late May 2016, Magic Leap, Inc. became a pioneer in trade secrets litigation when it became one of the first to venture into the uncharted waters of the Defend Trade Secrets Act. Magic Leap—a developer of technologies used for 3D renderings in augmented reality—sued two of its former employees for trade secret misappropriation under the DTSA in federal court in the Northern District of California. As we recently reported, President Obama signed into law what some consider the “most significant” intellectual properly legislation since the Lanham Act. READ MORE

Litigate Trade Secret Misappropriation Disputes in Chinese Courts

10-Jun-16

How can trade secret misappropriation disputes be litigated in Chinese courts, despite the system’s lack of US-style discovery tools? Many companies, especially foreign companies, might be hesitant to even think about bringing trade secret misappropriation actions in China for many reasons, but perhaps most importantly, based on concerns over how to collect evidence. READ MORE

Practical Tips: Keeping Trade Secrets Safe During Litigation – Texas Supreme Court Edition

3-Jun-16

Last week, the Texas Supreme Court provided its first opinion interpreting the Texas Uniform Trade Secrets Act in a case involving an issue that often causes discomfort to lawyers on both sides of the “v” in trade secret misappropriation cases: how much of their trade secrets do plaintiffs have to disclose to enable the defendant to adequately defend itself? The opinion in In re M-I L.L.C. d/b/a M-I Swaco, 2016 WL 2981342 (Tex., May 20, 2016) demonstrates this tension. READ MORE

Can You Keep A Secret? The European Union’s New Directive on Trade Secrets and its Impacts on Whistleblowers

26May2016

It is no secret that the European Union’s (“EU”) Directive on Trade Secrets was a long time in the making. The Directive was first proposed in November 2013. After roughly two years of debate and revision, the revised Directive was published in December 2015. On April 14, 2016, the debate ended, and the European Parliament voted to adopt the Directive with no further amendments. The resolution approving the Directive passed by 503 votes to 131 votes with 18 abstentions. This morning, the EU Council unanimously adopted the Directive on Trade Secrets. READ MORE

Amendment to Federal Criminal Procedural Rule Could Impact Trade Secret Cases

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Much attention, including here at Trade Secrets Watch, has been focused in recent weeks on the Defend Trade Secret Act (“DTSA”), which overwhelmingly passed both houses of Congress in April and was signed into law by President Obama on May 11th. The DTSA gives companies new tools for combatting alleged trade secret theft, including a direct path to federal court via the addition of a private right of action to the Economic Espionage Act (EEA) and the ability to apply for ex parte seizure orders to prevent propagation or dissemination of stolen trade secrets. READ MORE