Labor & Employment Intellectual Property

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Is your confidential information “property” if it does not qualify as a trade secret?

The answer likely is “no” according to a recent decision from a federal court in San Francisco. The plaintiff in that case, a data storage company, alleged that a competitor misappropriated its trade secrets by illegally...more

Remote Controlled: Keeping Trade Secrets Safe While Employees Work Remotely

One of the biggest challenges the cyber-security field faces today—aside from outright hacking—is the fact that employees’ data is increasingly portable. Data portability can be a major boon for employers. For instance, it...more

Employees vs. Independent Contractors: The Consequences of Misclassification

The distinction between independent contractors and employees carries more burdens, consequences, and decisions than ever before. In addition to the tax consequences, there are health care compliance consequences, workers’...more

Top 5 Legal Issues You Need to Consider When Implementing an Enterprise Social Network

The clue is in the names – Jive, Chatter, Yammer. Enterprise social networks (ESNs) are designed to help employees communicate and share information and ideas. ESNs have been around for a number of years, but are becoming...more

Craft Brewery Intellectual Property Primer

A. Introduction - A name. It all starts with a name. A series of words, individually with little meaning, but collectively, the embodiment of creativity, passion, and inspiration. Whether the name of the craft brewery...more

Russian Perspective: Can Sending Confidential Information to Your Personal Email Address Constitute a Disclosure of a Trade...

Imagine that you are the General Director of a company (the Russian equivalent of an American CEO), and your information security department finds out that an employee, who you have long suspected of industrial espionage, has...more

Has the "Inevitable Disclosure" Doctrine Found a Foothold in North Carolina?

Twenty years ago, the Seventh Circuit Court of Appeals in PepsiCo, Inc. v. Redmond, 54 F.3d 1262 (7th Cir. 1995) advanced the “inevitable disclosure” doctrine in trade secret misappropriation cases. The doctrine essentially...more

Who Owns What When a Copyrighted Work is Created in the Workplace

Something employers, employees and contractors don’t often consider is the ownership and attribution of copyrighted property created for an employer on behalf of an employee. Copyright has value, so the ownership of it might...more

Supreme Court Update: TEVA Pharmaceuticals USA V. Sandoz (13-584); Department Of Homeland Security V. Maclean (13-894); Holt V....

Greetings, Court fans! While we in New Haven were more-or-less spared having to dig out from "Winter Storm Juno" (aka "snowbigdeal"), it's taken us a while to dig out from the Court's recent pile of opinions. With this...more

Court of Appeal of Alberta Upholds Employers Anton Piller Order

Among the Court of Appeal of Alberta’s first decisions of the New Year, was its decision in Peters & Co Limited v Ward, 2015 ABCA 6 (CanLII), regarding the matter of an Anton Piller Order obtained by an employer, an...more

The spy who came in from the kitchen…

Offering workers the opportunity to work from home has many benefits for both the employee and employer, but it can bring challenges as well. One challenge is handling trade secrets, which are defined as any information that...more

Real Property, Financial Services & Title Insurance Update: Week Ending January 30, 2015

REAL PROPERTY UPDATE - Restrictive Covenants: restrictive covenant providing that an ostentatious site feature, which “may be offensive to adjacent neighbors is unacceptable” was improperly interpreted by architectural...more

Patent Infringement Lawsuit Reminds ERISA Fiduciaries to Monitor Service Providers

In August 2014, GRQ Investment Management, LLC (GRQ) sued Financial Engines, Inc. and Financial Engines Advisors, LLC (collectively, Financial Engines), alleging that Financial Engines’ sale of account management and advisory...more

Blog: The ABCs of PIIAAs: Protecting Employee-Generated IP

Companies seeking to avoid employment disputes and to secure intellectual property rights to their employees’ inventions should make sure that all employees have signed confidentiality and inventions assignment agreements. ...more

Contractors vs. Employees: The Benefits and Risks of Hiring Outsourced Workers

Alternatives to direct employment are flourishing, as businesses have come to believe they should keep in house only “core” functions and outsource other activities like IT and HR to specialized service providers. This...more

Missouri Court Refuses to Enforce Non-Compete in Staffing Agency Fight Between Kforce and Beacon Hill

A recent case out of the Eastern District of Missouri provides a perfect example of what judges should do when evaluating non-compete agreements: That is to say that judges should conduct a thoughtful analysis that accounts...more

UPDATE-The Employees Strike Back: High-Tech Giants Increase Settlement Offer in Wage-Fixing Suit

As discussed in my prior blog post, Google, Apple, Intel and Adobe stand accused of conspiring not to poach one another’s employees in order to keep wages down.  Attorneys representing the class-action employees agreed to...more

New Year’s Resolutions for Companies Seeking to Protect Their Trade Secrets in 2015

The start of a new year is a perfect opportunity to set lofty goals of self-improvement. While the odds of completing a New Year’s resolution aren’t exactly inspiring (over half are expected to fail within six months) studies...more

Fast Food Non-Compete Agreements?

Fast food is very secretive. Colonel Sanders Kentucky Fried Chicken has eleven secret herbs and spices. Bakers have attempted to reverse engineer Mrs. Fields Chocolate Chip Cookie recipe, but it remains a closely held...more

Swiping from the Swoosh: Nike sues former shoe designers for trade secret theft

Nike recently sued three of its former shoe designers who defected to Adidas, claiming the trio brought trade secrets with them, including Nike’s strategic development plans, design drawings, and other information “tied” to...more

Show Me the License: Is Your Company Ready?

Good record-keeping is a burden. But doing so is important. Here is an example of why it is important to keep good records of all software licenses....more

Secret Connections: LinkedIn contacts may be a trade secret

A California court recently determined that an employee’s LinkedIn contacts could be considered a “trade secret” in a case where the employee retained his contacts after he left the company and began a competing venture....more

To Sue or Not to Sue: That Is the Trade Secret Question

You have just learned that a senior member of the company research and development team has resigned. The employee had access to important confidential information about your company’s product development, manufacturing...more

Additional (punitive) damages for flagrant patent infringement awarded against ex-employee

What happens when an employee: - leaves your company; - convinces your manufacturer to stop supplying your (patented) product to you and supply it to him instead; and - then starts selling this product to one of...more

Lost in the Cloud: Dropbox, Data “Insecurity,” and Employee Shenanigans

For the uninitiated, Dropbox and other similar tools—such as SkyDrive, Google Drive, or Cubby—allow a user to log in to an account, upload documents or files to the cloud, and then access or download them from any device,...more

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