Duane Morris partners Lawrence Pockers, Shannon Hampton Sutherland and Daniel Walworth shared their views on the latest trends in trade secret law.
Thomson Reuters: What trends are you seeing in trade secret litigation?
Shannon Hampton Sutherland: Last year, President Barack Obama signed into law the Defend Trade Secrets Act, which gives plaintiffs the ability to file trade secret cases in federal court without diversity jurisdiction. That is fairly significant because in the past, plaintiffs would have to file in state court, and now there is a federal cause of action that allows plaintiffs to go directly to federal court, which generally is a benefit. The second thing is that anecdotally, we are seeing more criminal cases come out of trade secrets theft than we’ve seen in the past. Prosecutors are taking up cases at a rate higher than normal, especially when foreign nationals are involved.
To read the full text of this article, please visit the Duane Morris LLP website.
By Gregory S. Bombard
On June 9, 2017, the Business Litigation Session (BLS) of the Massachusetts Superior Court issued a decision about the extraterritorial application of California’s public policy against non-competition agreements (Full text of the decision: Oxford Global Resources, LLC v. Jeremy Hernandez). The plaintiff, Oxford, is a recruiting and staffing company headquartered in Massachusetts. It hired the defendant to work as an entry-level “account manager” in an office in California. As a condition of his employment, the employee signed a “protective covenants agreement” that included non-solicitation, non-competition, and confidentiality provisions. This agreement contained a Massachusetts choice-of-law provision and a Massachusetts choice-of-venue provision. Continue reading “Massachusetts Court Rules California Law Supersedes Massachusetts Choice-of-Law Provision and Non-Compete Clause in Employment Contract”
The Pennsylvania Superior Court’s recent decision in Metalico Pittsburgh, Inc. v. Douglas Newman, et al., No. 354 WDA 2016, 2017 PA Super. 109 (Apr. 19, 2017), confirms the importance of careful contractual drafting in agreements containing non-compete clauses and other post-employment restrictive covenants. In circumstances where an employee is hired for a term of employment but later becomes an at-will employee, that contractual language may determine the enforceability of the agreement’s non-compete and non-solicitation provisions.
To read the full text of this post by Duane Morris partner Luke McLoughlin, please visit the Duane Morris Appellate Review Blog.
By Bronwyn L. Roberts
As reported in The Boston Globe, the Massachusetts Senate and House concluded their legislative session on July 31, 2016, without passing noncompete reform legislation. This comes as a bit of a surprise as the House and Senate have in 2016 each passed a noncompete reform bill. Additionally, Governor Charlie Baker has, through a spokesperson, recently indicated support for the House bill that sought to restrict noncompetes by creating “Garden Leave,” consisting of payment during the restricted period of at least 50 percent of the employee’s annualized base salary. However, for those who have followed this process over the years, the fact that neither bill passed is consistent with many other failed attempts over the years to overhaul the Massachusetts noncompete landscape.
Thus, the noncompete reform debate, which has been ongoing in the Massachusetts legislature since at least 2009, continues. We will keep you updated.
Continue reading “The “No Update” Update: Massachusetts Legislature Concludes Session Without Passing Noncompete Reform”
By Bronwyn L. Roberts
On June 29, 2016, just four months after Massachusetts House Speaker Robert A. DeLeo promised to put new legislative limits on noncompetition agreements, the House unanimously passed a bill (150-0) doing just that and also passed the Massachusetts Uniform Trade Secrets Act. To become law, the bill (House Bill 4434) still needs to pass the Senate and be signed by Governor Charlie Baker.
While much of the bill would merely codify some of the key issues judges already look at when analyzing whether an agreement is enforceable under Massachusetts law, there are some provisions that represent a sea change in the noncompete landscape.
Continue reading “House Unanimously Passes Legislative Limits on Massachusetts Noncompetes and Passes Massachusetts Uniform Trade Secrets Act and, in Doing so, Introduces Paid Garden Leave”
On June 9, 2016, Duane Morris attorney Gregory S. Bombard moderated a panel at the Boston Bar Association on “Negotiating and Enforcing Protective Orders in Trade Secret Cases.” The panel discussed best practices for protecting a client’s secret information during litigation, from discovery through motion practice and trial. Michael R. Gottfried, the managing partner of Duane Morris’s Boston office, spoke about his experience using trade secret information at trial. Also on the panel were Kenneth Berman of Nutter, McClennen & Fish and Sarah Herlihy of Jackson Lewis.
For more information, please contact Mr. Gottfried or Mr. Bombard of the Boston office or the members of the Non-Compete and Trade Secrets Practice.
Lawrence H. Pockers
, co-chair of Duane Morris’ Non-Compete and Trade Secrets Practice Group
, moderated a panel discussion at the DRI Business Litigation Seminar in Nashville, Tennessee, on May 5, 2016.
The panel was titled “Restrictive Covenants Enforcement Realities Around the Country: The In-House Perspective on Chasing the Departed,” and the panelists were Kelly Grace Huller, Globus Medical Inc.; Jennifer A. McGlinn, Ricoh Americas Corp.; and Stacey N. Schmidt, Fidelity Investments.
By Bronwyn L. Roberts and Gregory S. Bombard
On March 2, 2016, Massachusetts House Speaker Robert A. DeLeo promised to put new legislative limits on noncompetition agreements, reigniting the debate over non-compete reform legislation that has continued since at least 2009. In a speech to the Greater Boston Chamber of Commerce’s annual Government Affairs Forum, DeLeo said that he would push legislative reform with the following restrictions for enforceability of noncompetition agreements:
- noncompetition agreements would be limited to one year;
- noncompetition agreements would not apply to lower-wage workers; and
- workers must be clearly informed that a noncompetition agreement is required before taking a job, including a “stated right to counsel.”
Continue reading “The Long Smoldering Debate About Noncompetition Reform in Massachusetts Is Re-Ignited by House Speaker”
Duane Morris is pleased to congratulate partner Lawrence Pockers, who has been selected by the Support Center for Child Advocates as a Distinguished Advocate for 2013. The award celebrates the extraordinary efforts of individuals who help children in Philadelphia. Pockers has been a longtime pro bono child advocate, representing many abused and neglected children in Philadelphia in addition to serving on the Child Advocates’ Volunteer Committee. He will receive the award at the Child Advocates 2013 Annual Benefit Reception & Auction on April 10 at the Crystal Tea Room (Wanamaker Building) in Philadelphia.
Click here to read the press release.