Virtual Learning: The Scope of Preemption Under the California Uniform Trade Secrets Act

Companies seeking protection under the California Uniform Trade Secrets Act (“CUTSA”) should consider the effects of CUTSA preemption on their litigation strategy. Under the well-known Silvaco Data System v. Intel Corporation case and its progeny, CUTSA provides the exclusive civil remedy for trade secret misappropriation and supersedes other tort claims based on the same nucleus of facts as any trade secret claims that are or could be pled. Read More

Money Is Time: A Note on Valuation and Sentencing in Criminal Trade Secrets Cases

Criminal trade secrets prosecutions tend to make national headlines, and for good reason. With fact patterns that often involve international intrigue, high technology, and millions of dollars in play, these cases can read like a James Bond flick. But while astronomical monetary figures make good copy, they also present vexing legal questions that can have drastic impacts on sentencing. Read More

New Year, New Progress: The Defend Trade Secrets Act Reports Out From the Senate Judiciary Committee

As previously reported on TSW, the road to federal right of action for trade secrets misappropriation has been a long one. In the absence of a federal trade secrets law, the Economic Espionage Act (“EEA”) and various state versions of the Uniform Trade Secret Act (“UTSA”) have filled the gap with an uneven patchwork of legislation and no civil remedies at the federal level. This might soon change. On January 27, 2016 the U.S. Senate Committee on the Judiciary passed the Defend Trade Secrets Act of 2016 (“DTSA”), sponsored by Sens. Orrin Hatch, R-Utah, and Chris Coons, D-Del. The legislation was also backed by a deep pool of companies ranging from Silicon Valley startups to corporate giants concerned about the hundreds of billions of dollars reportedly lost annually as a result of trade secret theft. Read More

Aviation Contractor Glides Away From Liability After Receiving Unsolicited Email Containing Trade Secrets

If a third party sends you someone’s trade secrets, and you delete them as soon as you know they’re trade secrets, you’re off the hook for misappropriation.

That, in a nutshell, is what a Florida federal judge held on January 14, when he dismissed Dyncorp International LLC’s allegations that rival contractor AAR Airlift Group, Inc. stole trade secrets to gain an unfair advantage in securing a multibillion-dollar government contract. The contract, which Dyncorp had performed for more than 20 years, was to provide aviation support to the U.S. State Department for its counter-narcotics operations. Read More

Buried at Trial: Supplier of Earthmoving Equipment Gets Hit with $74M Verdict in Trade Secrets Theft Case

In the wake of an 8-week trial, Caterpillar Inc. has received a $74M verdict against it in the Northern District of Illinois after a jury found it guilty of exploiting a supply contract with Miller UK Ltd. to steal the company’s trade secrets. Read More

The Duty of Loyalty Awakens

If you’re a Star Wars fan, loyalty probably means waiting ten years for “The Force Awakens.” (Or even longer if you prefer not to count Episodes I-III). For an employee looking to leave her current employer, however, loyalty can take on a different meaning. An employee, while still employed, owes an “undivided duty of loyalty” to her employer.  Read More

LOOKING BACK TO MOVE FORWARD: Need to Balance Trade Secret Protection and Judicial Transparency Remains Ten Years After Federal Court Reprimanded for Issuing Secret Opinion

Ringing in the New Year provides a unique opportunity to reflect on the past and look ahead to the future. This mirrors the day-to-day reality for legal practitioners: the future is shaped by precedent from the past. And in these early days of 2016, with the possibility of a federal trade secrets law looming in the proposed Defend Trade Secrets Act, it’s important to understand the tensions and limits surrounding trade secret law. Read More

Trade Secrets in the Fast Lane – Formula One and the Importance of Trade Secret Protection

For a competition to be friendly, it should be scrupulously fair.” The Formula One world was recently jolted by allegations that a former Mercedes-Benz AMG engineer took highly-confidential information in anticipation of joining Mercedes’ chief competitor Ferrari. Mercedes recently filed suit in the High Court of Justice in the United Kingdom. To many in the Formula One world, the recent news is reminiscent of 2007’s “Spygate” controversy involving confidential technical data misappropriated from Ferrari. Nearly a decade later, the recent allegations underscore an important facet of Formula One: Formula One teams go to extraordinary lengths to protect their design secrets created at a cost of hundreds of millions of dollars. Read More