Here are the noteworthy trade secret, non-compete and cybersecurity stories from the past week:
Noteworthy Trade Secret and Non-Compete Posts and Cases:
- Former L3 Communications employee Sixing Liu was convicted of stealing trade secrets by a Newark, New Jersey jury last week. Liu was convicted of taking restricted military data and presenting them at two conferences in China the previous fall. Prosecutors argued the technology was proprietary and could be used for target locators and other military applications.
- “Chinese Smuggler Tried to Sneak Carbon Fiber for Fighter Jets, Feds Claim,” reports Wired.
- In a panel discussion moderated by the U.S. Trade Representatives, the primary complaint, shockingly, was the theft of valuable U.S. trade secrets by Chinese nationals from within, and without, U.S. corporations, reports Todd Sullivan for his Sullivan’s Trade Secrets & Employee Defections Blog.
- Kenneth Vanko has a post on yet another bad faith trade secret case, this time out of Cook County, Illinois. In Portola Packaging, Inc. v. Logoplaste USA, Inc., Kenneth notes how the trial court, at the end of this case, went back over the evidence and compared it to what the allegations of the complaintrevealed. In addition, the court was influenced by emails that suggested improper intent, as the plaintiff considered a litigation strategy because “new suppliers that are caught up in litigation can scare potential customers.”
- A recent California trade secret case appears to have applied a more relaxed showing of particularity of the trade secrets, reports The Software Intellectual Property Report. In VasoNovo v. Grunwald, the court rejected a claim that the plaintiff had not adequately identified the trade secrets in question (which a former employee had used for a patent application), reasoning that at the pleading stage, the “trade secret designation is to be liberally construed, and reasonable doubts regarding its adequacy are to be resolved in favor of allowing discovery to go forward.”
- AvidAir Helicopter Supply has lost its bid to have the U.S. Supreme Court review its appeal of the Eighth Circuit’s finding that it misappropriated the trade secrets of Rolls Royce, reports Law360. The Eighth Circuit had found that the repair operation misappropriated Rolls Royce’s trade secrets by using purportedly confidential overhaul specifications, and ordered that the technical documents be returned. For more on the case, see my post on the Eighth Circuit’s decision last year.
- Are you a lawyer in Massachusetts who has been asked to signed a non-compete? Then you may want to consult Brian Bialas’ post in Foley & Hoag’s Massachusetts Non-Compete Law Blog. For more on lawyers and non-competes, see my earlier posts here and here.
- In need of a short primer on Tennessee trade secrets law? Then check out John Paul Nefflen’s post for Burr & Forman’s Trade Secrets & Non-Compete Blog, which concerns the recent trade secrets battle between professional wrestling associations TNA Entertainment and World Wrestling Entertainment.
- Looking to avoid living in your own private Idaho? Then you better consult Kim Stanger’s report for Law360, “Unclear Standards for for Idaho’s Restrictive Covenants.”
- Worried that the new employee you’re hiring might have a non-compete? Seyfarth Shaw’s Molly Joyce has a practical post in the Trading Secrets Blog on the steps an employer should take to avoid that entanglement.
Computer Fraud and Abuse Act Posts and Articles:
- Nick Akerman’s Computer Fraud/Data Protection Blog has a fine post, “High Court May Rule on Computer Law Question,” in which he looks at the recent decisions by the Ninth Circuit in U.S. v. Nosal and the Fourth Circuit in WEC Carolina v. Miller narrowly applying the CFAA and predicts that if the Supreme Court takes the case, it will adopt the broader view of “accessing without authorization” applied by the Fifth, Seventh, Eighth and Eleventh Circuits.
Cybersecurity Posts and Articles:
- A front-page article in last Friday’s edition of The Washington Post, “In cyberattacks, hacking humans is highly effective way to access systems,” makes clear that the easiest way for cyberthieves to hack into a system is through a company’s employees.
- For those representing banks and other financial institutions, check out “Hack Attack: U.S. Financial Institutions in the Cross-Hairs” by Mintz Levin lawyers Amy Malone and Cynthia Marose.
News You Can Use:
- “Why We Are So Rude Online,” answers Elizabeth Bernstein for The Wall Street Journal.