Policy

EU Study: Trade Secrets Top Patents in European Union

Just as the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office has shown a keen interest in better understanding policy concerns and the needs of business stakeholders in the area of trade secrets (see our coverage of both USPTO symposia here and here) against the backdrop of a new federal law, the EU’s IP office is also stepping up its focus on trade secrets following the EU Trade Secrets Directive in 2016 (our coverage here).  READ MORE

Password Sharing Is Not a Crime, Ninth Circuit Reassures in Denial of Nosal’s Request for Rehearing

Since the early days of this blog, we’ve been covering the ongoing legal battle involving ex-Korn Ferry recruiter David Nosal as it winds its way through the courts. The latest chapter in this saga came on December 8, 2016, when a Ninth Circuit panel clarified that the Computer Fraud and Abuse Act (CFAA) does not criminalize innocent password sharing, in a published opinion denying Nosal’s request for a rehearing en banc. READ MORE

One of Obama Administration’s Final Mandates: Non-Competes Should Be The Exception, Not The Rule

With all the hubbub over the Presidential election, it would not be hard to overlook some of the Obama administration’s final moves. Recently, the White House issued a call to action to state legislators to ban non-compete agreements for most classes of workers. In an era where even sandwich makers can be bound to a non-compete agreement, the White House is concerned about the overuse of non-compete agreements and the potential stifling effect of these agreements across the economy. According to the White House, 20 percent of U.S. workers are bound by non-compete agreements, including 14 percent of those earning less than $40,000 per year. READ MORE

No Way Around It: SB 1241 Further Restricts Non-Compete Agreements For California Workers

Companies often seek to protect their trade secrets by requiring employees to sign non-compete agreements. California law invalidates such provisions except in very limited circumstances. See Bus. & Prof. Code §§ 16600 et seq. With the recent passage of a new statute, the ability of employers to enforce such agreements against California employees is more restricted than ever.   READ MORE

Senate Bill in Georgia Seeks to Expand Scope of Trade Secret Protection

On February 2, 2016, Georgia State Senator Hunter Hill introduced Senate Bill 321 in the Georgia Senate. The bill is entitled “Commerce and Trade; state government; protections against public disclosure of certain information.” The bill has 36 co-sponsors, all of whom, like Hill, are Republican.  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

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

A “Big Deal”: Latest U.S.-China Talks Signal Progress for Protection of Trade Secrets

Expectations didn’t appear high for the latest round of China-U.S. talks about a variety of economic issues including trade secret protection. As previously discussed at TSW, China had not signed onto the Trans-Pacific Partnership Agreement, and earlier this summer, the U.S. had threatened economic sanctions against China for lax cybersecurity enforcement.  READ MORE

Ninth Circuit Hears Oral Arguments in United States v. Nosal, Part II

On October 20, 2015, a three judge panel of the Ninth Circuit heard oral arguments in Round II of United States v. David Nosal.  Both sides generally stuck with arguments from their briefs, with Nosal’s counsel arguing that upholding Nosal’s  conviction under the Computer Fraud and Abuse Act (the “CFAA”) would lead to criminalization of relatively minor misappropriations of information, and the government arguing that the precedent would only apply in the employment context. READ MORE