Peter A. Steinmeyer, Member of the Firm in the Employment, Labor & Workforce Management practice, in the firm’s Chicago office, was quoted in Law360, in “The Biggest Noncompete Decisions of 2019: Midyear Report,” by Braden Campbell. (Read the full version – subscription required.)
Following is an excerpt:
Because employers often sign workers to noncompete agreements to protect confidential information, noncompete suits often include claims for trade secrets theft. While it doesn’t actually involve a noncompete agreement, a recent trade secrets decision out of the Northern District of Illinois will be invaluable to noncompete attorneys, said Peter Steinmeyer, co-leader of Epstein Becker Green’s trade secrets and employee mobility practice group.
Grinding disc manufacturer Abrasic 90 Inc. sued former president Joe O’Mera and his new company, Weldcote Metals Inc. Abrasic asked the court for a preliminary injunction, arguing O’Mera took secret pricing, customer and supplier data and used it to set up Weldcote.
U.S. District Judge John Tharp Jr. denied Abrasic’s injunction bid, saying the company hadn’t done enough to protect its trade secrets to have a viable theft claim. The judge ran down several steps Abrasic could have taken to protect its secrets, including signing workers to nondisclosure and confidentiality agreements, limiting access to the secrets and labeling documents proprietary or confidential. In doing so, the judge laid out a road map for prosecuting and defending claims of trade secret theft, Steinmeyer said.
“This case, I think, is likely to be cited for years to come by attorneys on both sides of these disputes, because the judge discussed in such great detail the kinds of steps that could have been taken to protect trade secrets that were not taken,” he said.