Recently in Trade Secrets Category

June 25, 2012

Employer customer lists: "Whatever you say, dude."

See, Hear and Speak No EvilYou're looking to hire a new salesperson. Scott Salesperson comes in to interview. He currently works for your top competitor.

"Scott, do you have a non-competition agreement?"

"No."

"Scott, do you have a confidentiality agreement?"

"No. In fact, I have a list of my own customers that I could sell to if you hire me."

Sounds good, right. But, before hiring Scott, do you have any obligation to independently verify the facts that Scott has represented?

New Jersey employers will definitely want to click through because, last week, the New Jersey Supreme Court answered...

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April 12, 2012

Do your confidentiality agreements pass muster with the NLRB?

ConfidentialLast week, Jon Hyman at the Ohio Employer Law Blog was on point with this good post discussing a recent National Labor Relations Board Administrative Law Judge decision. The case involved what the NLRB General Counsel believed was an overly-broad social media policy in two regards:

  • It banned employees from using social media to comment on work-related legal matters; and

  • It required company-permission be given before employees post images/video online.
Make sure to read Jon's post for the full-scoop. I promise not to give away the ending (until later in this post, when I give away the ending). But, after the jump, I'm going to examine another aspect of the case; namely, a confidentiality provision that the ALJ deemed overly broad. I'll also add a few ideas for you to keep your confidentiality provisions compliant with the National Labor Relations Act.

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January 20, 2012

NJ officially adopts the Trade Secrets Act

Thumbnail image for nj1.jpgAs reported here in September, the State of New Jersey was recommending passage of the New Jersey Trade Secrets Act.

Well, welcome to the party, pal. (Or is it Powell?). Last week, NJ became the 47th state to adopt a version of the uniform trade secrets act as Governor Christie signed the NJTSA into law. The new law provides for both legal relief (damages for actual loss an unjust enrichment, punitive damages, attorney's fees) in the event of an actual misappropriation of trade secrets, and injunctive relief should there be an actual or threatened misappropriation.

January 5, 2012

Who owns the LinkedIn account you maintain for an employee?

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Yesterday, we looked at a recent federal-court decision to determine whether LinkedIn connections are considered trade secrets. Today, after the jump, we look at whether your business has any protectible interest in a LinkedIn account that you create and maintain for your employees.


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January 4, 2012

Are employees' LinkedIn contacts considered your trade secrets?

Over the past several weeks, you probably read about this case involving a company suing one of its former employees whom it alleges misappropriated a Twitter account and, along with it, 17,000 Twitter followers that the company believes it owns. A video about the case follows below:


Late last month, I learned of another case (h/t TechDirt), in which a former high-level executive and her prior employer are currently duking it out to see who owns the connections on the executive's LinkedIn page. More on this story and whether LinkedIn contacts are even trade secrets at all, after the jump...

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September 22, 2011

Your [trade] secrets are safe with NJ...almost.

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Raise your hand if your state has adopted a Uniform Trade Secrets Act -- a law that affords companies an additional layer of protection by providing for civil remedies in cases of trade-secret theft by employees and others.

Not so fast, New Jersey.

Well, all that may be about to change. Details after the jump...

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August 29, 2011

If Lady Gaga tweets your trade secret, is it still a trade secret?

secret.pngIn a matter of minutes, or even seconds, a single tweet may reach thousands or, possibly, millions of people. Now, just imagine if that tweet contained proprietary information. (You know, like if Lady Gaga tweeted the code to Microsoft Windows 7 to her millions of followers). Ummm...work with me here...

But, even in the days before Twitter, publishing content on a blog or a message board meant putting information out in the public domain for anyone -- including a competitor -- to view. What if that information was supposed to be confidential? Does a trade secret lose its legal trade-secret status if it is published on the internet? Find out the answer after the jump...

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January 19, 2011

4 ways employers can protect themselves when employees leave

This story that I wrote with my Dilworth Paxson LLP colleague, David Laigaie, the Chair of Dilworth's Corporate Investigation/White Collar Group, recently appeared in The Legal Intelligencer. If you operate a business in Pennsylvania and you have trade secrets, employees with non-solicitation agreements, or non-competition agreements, then take a few minutes and read this article. You'll be glad you did.

December 13, 2010

Can employees use your confidential documents to prove discrimination?

If you are reading this and you are a New Jersey employer, then the answer is yes. But only under certain circumstances. I'll lay out the test for you after the jump.

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