05102012Here are the noteworthy posts, articles and cases of the past week:
Trade Secret and Covenant Not to Compete Articles, Cases and Posts: 

  • Are CBS and ABC about to get in a row over the theft of trade secrets? According to The Hollywood Reporter, CBS attorneys have sent a strongly worded cease and desist letter that claims that a new ABC reality series, Life in the Glass House, is being produced by 18 Big Brother veterans who might reveal private information about the inner workings of the show. Spats over the misappropriation of ideas and pitches are common in the entertainment industry but rarely do you have two major networks threating to litigate against one another. 
  • Can a church assert a trade secrets claim? Northern California District Court Judge Lucy Koh has answered in the affirmative, rejecting a plaintiff’s claim that the Free Exercise clause would entangle courts in thorny constitutional issues, reports Professor Howard Friedman in his Religious Clause Blog. For more about this fascinating case, The Art of Living Foundation v. Doe, check out my post about this case last fall; it involves some interesting questions about determining the identity of anonymous whistleblowers who disclose confidential information over the Internet. 
  • If you want to enforce your non-compete in Massachusetts, you’d better comply with your own agreement, advises Foley & Hoag’s Massachusetts Non-Compete Blog. In that recent case, Ace Precision v. FHP Associates, a Massachusetts court concluded that the plaintiff, who was attempting to enforce a covenant accompanying an asset sale, could not enforce the non-compete because it had defaulted by failing to pay royalties under the agreement. 
  • A Sanofi Aventis scientist has been sentenced to 18 months in prison for stealing the pharmaceutical company’s trade secrets and putting them up for sale through the U.S. branch of a Chinese chemicals company. Yuan Li, 30 years old, was sentenced by New Jersey District Court Judge Joel Pisano as part of a plea agreement reached in January.
  • Former Silicon Valley engineer Subin Zhang was convicted of stealing trade secrets from his former employer Marvell Semiconductor by Northern California District Court Judge Ronald Whyte. Zhang was found guilty on three counts of theft and copying of trade secrets for downloading the trade secrets from a secure database, one count of duplication of trade secrets for loading those trade secrets onto a laptop, and one count of possession of stolen trade secrets. 
  • A recent New York trial court opinion, MSCI Inc. v. Jacob, has received a lot of attention from trade secret bloggers because it may be the first New York case requiring a plaintiff to identify its trade secrets before proceeding further with discovery. Womble Carlyle, Seyfarth Shaw, Littler and Epstein Becker’s blogs all have fine posts about the case. 
  • Ken Vanko has a good wrap-up of some recent developments, including a discussion of a recent Pennsylvania case, Outdoor Lighting Perspectives Franchising, Inc. v. OLP-Pittsburgh, Inc., involving a franchisee’s successful effort to scale back a broad non-compete. 
  • Russell Beck has updated his 50 state non-compete survey for those looking for developments in their state.


  • Hacker Fight! “Pirates Bay Scolds Anonymous for Cyberattacks on Its Behalf,” reports Andy Greenberg of Forbes.

News You Can Use and Other Articles of Interest: 

  • Want to keep Google and others from tracking you? The New York Times has some tips on “How to Muddy Your Tracks on the Internet.” 
  • The Times also advises that “Taking E-Mail Vacations Can Reduce Stress, Study Says.” 
  • As for light reading, Mark Zuckerberg is getting a lot of attention as the Facebook IPO draws near, as New York Magazine gushes about “The Maturation of the Billionaire Boy-Man.”