My apologies for not adhering to my regular “Thursday Wrap Up” schedule but I have been on the road and very busy with some out-of-town depositions. Without any further excuses, here are the noteworthy trade secret, non-compete and cybersecurity stories from the past week:
Noteworthy Trade Secret and Non-Compete Posts and Cases:
- South Korean manufacturer LG Display Co. has acknowledged 11 people including six of its own employees have been charged with stealing advanced TV display technology from rival Samsung. LG Display said Tuesday that it was charged along with the 11 for alleged theft of OLED technology between 2010 and 2011. Three of those charged currently work at Samsung Display, a display making unit of Samsung Electronics Co. LG denied that it or its employees were involved in the technology theft.
- The recent SASCO v. Rosendin Electric decision — which affirmed a trial court’s finding that the plaintiff’s action was in bad faith and awarded $484,000 in attorneys fees — is generating a lot of buzz in the trade secret/non-compete blogosphere. Epstein Becker’s Trade Secrets & Noncompete Blog, Seyfarth Shaw’s Trading Secrets Blog and Kenneth Vanko’s Legal Developments in Non-Competition Agreements Blog all have takes on the decision. As usual, Kenneth’s take is particularly interesting. He has expressed concern in the past about the number of meritless non-compete cases and, as a result, he has advocated that courts should be more willing to impose prevailing party awards in these cases. (For my take on the SASCO decision, see my Wednesday post).
- The trade secrets dispute between professional wrestling’s two federations, TNA and WWE, has resulted in a very broad TRO restraining WWE, reports Burr & Forman’s Non-Compete and Trade Secrets Blog. A federal judge in Nashville has put WWE in a sleeper hold over the potential disclosure of trade secrets hold because it hired a former TNA employee to solicit talent from TNA.
- Looking to buy a business and considering a non-compete with that transaction? You should review the recent post by Fisher & Phillips’ Non-Compete and Trade Secrets Blog that outlines the ten issues of which you should be aware before going forward with an acquisition.
- For those in Georgia, Atlanta lawyers Benjamin Fink and Neil Weinrich share their thoughts about Georgia non-competes entered into between November 3, 2011 and May 11, 2011 that may remain in legal limbo due to the Eleventh Circuit’s recent decision in Becham v. Synthes USA (a link to the decision can be found in my previous post about it here). In their Georgia Non-Compete and Trade Secrets Blog, they detail that court’s finding that Georgia’s previous non-compete statute was unconstitutional and that covenants entered into prior to May 11, 2011 might be legally suspect as a result.
- The fact that Google’s Marissa Mayer did not have a non-compete and was able to become Yahoo’s new CEO has sparked a discussion about how a company can protect itself if an executive leaves to join a competitor. Credit Fisher & Phillips’ Michael Greco for starting the conversation with his post, and Elizabeth Dilts’ article in Corporate Counsel is also worth reviewing.
- For the litigators: is a former employee an indispensable party in a dispute between two companies arising out of his/her non-compete? Check out this post from the Delaware Corporate & Commercial Litigation Blog for the answer.
Cybersecurity Posts and Articles:
- Covington & Burlington’s Inside Privacy Blog is reporting that the Federal Financial Institutions Examination Council has recently issued risk management guidance for depository institutions’ use of cloud computing. This may serve as a first step in setting a standard of care for managing information over the cloud.
- Forbes asks “Dropbox Secuirty Breaches: Who’s Guarding Your Secrets in the Cloud?”
- In an article entitled “Cyberthieves Hit Small Businesses: Courts Extend Legal Protections to Small Firms Who Were Hacked” the Wall Street Journal’s Joe Palazzolo details two recent rulings by the First Circuit Court of Appeals and a federal district court in Detroit that found that small companies enjoyed some protections against banks who had allowed hackers to improperly withdraw funds from their accounts.
News You Can Use:
- Federal Appellate Judge Richard Posner’s article in The Atlantic, “Why There Are Too Many Patents in America,” is raising a lot of eyebrows in the IP community. Judge Posner, one of the formidable minds of the bench, had recently presided over a high profile patent dispute between Apple and Motorola. After dismissing both parties’ claims, Judge Posner voiced concern that the case was emblematic of many unnecessary patent cases in the U.S. His article builds upon that experience and suggests that our patent system has run amok.