Here are the noteworthy posts, articles and cases of the past week:
Trade Secret and Non-Compete Cases and Posts:
- Google did not steal search engine trade secrets from a sales pitch over coffee, a California appellate court has ruled. Eric Goldman’s Technology & Marketing Blog has a fine summary of the case, Booloon, Inc. v. Google, Inc. Eric notes that the absence of a non-disclosure agreement, conclusory descriptions of the trade secrets at issue, and the plaintiff’s inability to refute Google’s evidence that it did not misappropriate the alleged trade secrets doomed what appears to have been a pretty weak trade secret case. Eric’s takeaway? Make sure that ground rules are established in even the most informal settings to minimize any future dispute (and don’t forget that NDA).
- The wrestling may be fake but the trade secrets are for real. Total Nonstop Action Wrestling (TNA) has filed a lawsuit in Nashville against World Wrestling Entertainment (WWE) and former TNA and WWE employee Brian Wittenstein for, among other things, violations of the Tennessee Uniform Trade Secrets Act and breach of fuduciary duties owed by Wittenstein to TNA. TNA claims that Wittenstein, who worked for TNA for three years and handled third-party booking for TNA talent to work independent shows before he left for WWE, provided WWE with inside information about those TNA contracts.
- “IBM’s Siri ban underscores important business concern over trade secrets” writes Evan Brown in his Internet Cases Blog. IBM’s policy grows out of its concern that Apple may store and use sensitive IBM data. According to Evan, Apple’s data usage policy that governs how it treats Siri inquiries says that Apple can use the information it collects to, among other things, improve the service.
- Eaton Corporation has fired two in-house lawyers involved in a botched Mississippi trade-secrets case that was dismissed last year amid allegations that Eaton and its counsel had improperly attempted to influence the previous judge. The Cleveland Plain Dealer says that the two lawyers, Vic Leo, vice president and chief litigation counsel, and Sharon O’Flaherty, litigation counsel, were recently required to file affidavits explaining why certain emails were not produced earlier in the case. In a related post, Law360 is reporting that Mississippi prosecutors are dropping criminal charges against the former Eaton engineers at the center of this dispute.
- “Espionage on Campus: It’s Not All Keggers Parties — Spies May Be Watching!” warns Vanson Soo of the Asia Sentinel. Vanson notes an unclassified FBI report, “Higher Education and National Security: The Targeting of Sensitive, Proprietary, and Classified Information on Campuses of Higher Education” recently warned American administrators that foreign intelligence services use universities for their intelligence and operational needs because the open environment of US colleges is “an ideal place to find recruits, propose and nurture ideas, learn, and even steal research data, or place trainees.”
- For those in Ohio, there is plenty of commentary this week about the Ohio Supreme Court’s decision in Acordia of Ohio v. Fishel barring the transfer of a non-compete after a merger if the agreement fails to provide for assignment to successors or the new company (I wrote about this case last week). Former Appellate Judge Marianna Brown Bettman, who has followed the case closely, has a thorough post in her Legally Speaking Ohio Blog. For the take of other lawyers on this important case, see Jon Hyman’s Ohio Employer’s Law Blog post, Kenneth Vanko’s post, and Epstein Becker’s post.
- For those in Florida, Burr & Forman’s Non-Compete & Trade Secrets Blog has a post about a recent decision rejecting a company’s trade secrets claim against a former employee. According to the post, in Duchame v. Tissuenet Distribution, Florida’s Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals upheld the dismissal of the claims due to the absence of a non-compete agreement and because the chemicals used for the allegedly stolen process were well known within the industry.
- The think-tank CREATe has issued a white paper entitled “Trade Secret Theft: Managing the Growing Threat in Supply Chains” to assist multi-national corporations in better protecting their trade secrets overseas. CREATe was formed last fall by former Microsoft Deputy General Counsel Pamela Passman to, among other things, protect IP rights and drive responsible business practices in global supply chains and business networks.
Computer Fraud and Abuse Act Posts:
- Seyfarth Shaw’s Trading Secrets Blog has a post about a recent Computer Fraud and Abuse Act (CFAA) case from the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Michigan narrowly applying the statute. In Ajuba International , LLC v. Saharia, the court elected to follow the approach recently applied by the Ninth Circuit in U.S. v. Nosal and found that the former employee had authorized access to the information at issue by virtue of his employment.
Cybersecurity Articles and Posts:
- “IBM stung by BYOD pitfalls” writes Barb Darrow of gigaom.
- “BYOD savings may be lost by security and admin costs” warns Rainer Enders for SC Magazine. Rainer cites a recent study as having found companies adopting BYOD spend 33% more than companies adopting a company-owned policy.
- Naked Security asks “How long would it take to crack your password?”
- The New York Times provides some help on how to “Build Up Your Phone’s Defenses Against Hackers.”
News You Can Use:
- “Malicious E-Mail Attachment on Olympics Making Rounds on the Internet” advises The New York Times Bits Blog.