Here are the noteworthy trade secret, non-compete and cybersecurity stories from the past week, as well one or two that I missed over the past couple of weeks:
Noteworthy Trade Secret and Non-Compete Posts and Cases:
- Zynga has expanded its high profile trade secrets dispute against a former employee to include his new employer, competitor Kixeye, according to All Things Digital. In response, Kixeye has filed a counterclaim seeking a declaration that it has neither misappropriated the trade secrets of Zynga nor improperly interfered with any relationships or contracts with that former employee, Alan Patmore. As Todd Sullivan notes in his post over this recent development, Kixeye freely admits that Patmore shared Zynga’s information with Kixeye but denies that any of that information qualified as a trade secret. (Seyfarth Shaw also has a post on this recent development). An aggressive strategy, to be sure, and the Trade Secret Litigator will keep a close eye on this one.
- In another high profile trade secrets case, sports agent Aaron Mintz and his former employer, Mark Bartelstein & Associates Inc., have secured dismissal of competing claims against one another, according to Law360. U.S. District Judge Stephen V. Wilson dismissed the former employer’s trade secret claims against Mintz and his new employer, Creative Artists Agency, but also dismissed Mintz’s claims alleging violations of the Computer Fraud & Abuse Act and the Electronic Communications Privacy Act in connection with alleged email hacking. The case started as a declaratory judgment action filed in March by Mintz, who sought a ruling that two portions of his employment contract — a two-year non-compete clause and a requirement that he provide 14 days’ written notice of his resignation — were unenforceable, and has morphed into a cause celebre in sports agent circles.
- Alnylam Pharmaceutical has paid $65 million as part of a licensing agreement settling a lawsuit that accused it of misappropriating Tekmira’s trade secrets related to gene-silencing therapeutics, Law360 is reporting.
- Caveat angry employers, the Illinois Supreme Court has recognized a claim for intrusion of seclusion for an improper investigation into whether an employee was violating his non-compete, reports Kenneth Vanko in his Legal Developments in Non-Competition Agreements Blog.
- Can an employer condition severance payments on a non-compete? Kenneth Vanko strikes again and reports that an Illinois federal court has said “no way.” In Pactiv Corp. v. Rupert, the Northern District of Illinois held that the employer had failed to provide the requisite notice under ERISA to justify that attempt. Epstein Becker’s Trade Secrets & Noncompete Blog has a post on the case as well.
- For those looking for cases involving choice of law clauses in non-compete disputes, check out Jonathan Pollard’s post from the non-compete blog on a recent decision from a federal court in Missouri.
- For those asking the same question about forum selection clauses in North Carolina, see Jason B. James’ recent post for Poyner Spruill’s Under Lock & Key Blog.
- “Global Corporate Fraud is Down, Data Theft a Stubborn Threat” reminds Catherine Dunn for Corporate Counsel.
- “Winning the final fight against international trade secret thieves: Five steps to overcome a defendant’s aggressive post-verdict actions and obtain compensation” advises Kent Gardner and William Sauers for Inside Counsel.
IP and Technology Posts and Articles of Note:
- Can a judge dangle a reduction in damages in exchange for compliance with its injunction? Perhaps the better question is, should it have to? According to a November 11, 2012 post by Venkat Balasubrami for Eric Goldman’s Technology & Marketing Blog, in North American Recycling, LLC v. Texamet Recycling, LLC, Judge Michael C. Watson of the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Ohio has made such a proposal to the defendant if it agrees to remove certain defamatory content from its websites and forbears from doing it again in the future.
- Interested in “Genetic Data, Patents, and Trade Secrets”? Then see this article by Antoinette Konski of Foley & Lardner for JDSupra.
Computer Fraud & Abuse Act Cases and Posts:
- Seyfarth Shaw’s Trading Secrets Blog reports on a recent case out of Nebraska dismissing a CFAA claim for failure to plead the requisite damages.
Cybersecurity Articles and Posts:
- “Cybersecurity Bill Fails To Move Forward In The Senate (Again)” reports techdirt.
- “Legal Risks with BYOD” cautions Peter Vogel in his Internet, Information Technology & e-Discovery Blog.
- “A Break in the Clouds – What’s Trending in Cloud Computing?” asks Tim Wright of Pilsbury in a contribution to JDSupra.
- “Email: the forgotten security problem” warns Julian Bhardwaj for nakedsecurity.
News You Can Use:
- “How to Devise Passwords That Drive Hackers Away” advises The New York Times Bits Blog.