Roland Chang is a lawyer in Orrick's White
Collar & Corporate Investigations group. He represents
foreign and domestic clients in connection with government
enforcement actions, FCPA monitorships, internal investigations, and criminal and civil litigation. Roland has hands-on experience with all aspects of
investigations, monitorships, and litigation, including jury trials, handling witness
interviews, drafting reports, taking and defending depositions, and managing
Roland is a regular contributor to Orrick’s Trade Secrets Watch. Prior to joining Orrick, he was an attorney at the Public Interest Law Project in Oakland, California, where he engaged in impact litigation related to affordable housing and public benefits programs. He has also clerked at the Civil Division of the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Northern District of California.
Last November, we discussed the potential impact of a recent California appellate court decision, AMN Healthcare, Inc. v. Aya Healthcare Services, Inc., 28 Cal. App. 5th 923 (2018), which called into question long-standing California precedent enforcing certain employee non-solicitation provisions. However, we noted it was too soon to forecast the implications of that case.
Though it is still early, it appears the tide may be turning, as a California federal district court recently issued a decision that relied upon AMN’s holding and found that the employee non-solicitation provision in the plaintiff’s contract were unenforceable under California law.
On August 7, 2018, the Eleventh Circuit affirmed summary judgment in favor of defendant in Yellowfin Yachts v. Barker Boatworks, LLC. Sending the rival high-end boatmakers back to shore after a two-year dispute, the Eleventh Circuit concluded, among other things, that plaintiff had not done enough to maintain the secrecy of its alleged trade secret information. READ MORE
The Obama Administration’s focus on criminal trade secret prosecutions under the Economic Espionage Act (EEA) highlights the legal complexities at the murky intersection between criminal and civil jurisprudence in trade secrets cases. As we previously discussed, when it comes time for sentencing, determining the “value” of the stolen trade secrets is often difficult—and courts have applied different valuation models. READ MORE
As we approach the dog days of summer, baseball season is again in full bloom. We previously discussed old-fashioned sign stealing in the context of teams trying to gain a competitive advantage during an actual game. But it appears these hijinks have evolved in today’s electronic world. As the New York Times first reported, the FBI and Department of Justice prosecutors are investigating front-office personnel for the St. Louis Cardinals, one of Major League Baseball’s most beloved franchises, for allegedly infiltrating the internal network of the Houston Astros. READ MORE
Do you know which chemical ingredients create that complex smell in your favorite deodorant, cologne, or perfume? For years, the answer has been a resounding no. Historically, the consumer products industry has relied on trade secret protection to avoid disclosing natural and synthetic chemical “fragrance” ingredients in its products. However, in the last two months, several multinational companies, including the Clorox Co. and SC Johnson, have voluntarily disclosed the “fragrance” ingredients in their products. These affirmative steps signal that companies are increasingly trying to balance consumer safety concerns with trade secret protection. READ MORE
Should restaurateurs wonder eachtime they hire someone: Will this person steal their recipes — the bread and butter of their business?
Trade secret law offers limited comfort. Restaurant owners who have pursued such recipe bandits on trade secret misappropriation grounds have a mixed win-loss record. And like a fine paring knife, trade secret law can cut two ways: while it can help protect intellectual property, enforcing these laws in the restaurant business may also drive talent away. Would Michelin restaurant SPQR’s executive chef Matthew Accarrino have joined if he had been required to sign an employment agreement stating that any recipes developed during his employment become the intellectual property of the restaurant? Probably not. READ MORE