North Carolina is officially open for fracking, after lifting a ban on the practice—and enacting criminal penalties for spilling trade secrets associated with it. With passage of the Energy Modernization Act, North Carolina joins the growing ranks of states that have legislated to protect confidential fracking information.
Parties advocating public disclosure of the chemical makeup of fracking fluids may have won a recent battle in Wyoming, but are they losing the war? On March 12, 2014, the Wyoming Supreme Court in Powder River Basin Resource Council v. Wyoming Oil and Gas Conservation Commission reversed a district court’s order exempting fracking fluid information from public disclosure. The court made two key findings. First, the court clarified that parties seeking disclosure in Wyoming are entitled to de novo district court review of administrative decisions exempting fracking fluid information from disclosure as trade secrets. Second, it held that the “narrow” definition of trade secrets under FOIA applies to exemption claims. READ MORE
Earlier this year, we picked mandatory public disclosure laws as a trend to watch in 2014. Developments in California seem to bear that out, and trade secrets owners will want to keep a close eye on the “green chemistry” movement and expanded public disclosure requirements for manufacturers of a wide range of consumer products. Companies that make or sell products in California — ranging from electronics and household cleaners to children’s toys and cosmetics — will need to map out a plan that complies with the new requirements while at the same time protecting their valuable intellectual property, including trade secrets. READ MORE