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Recent Blog Posts

  • Thomson Reuters Practical Law has released the 2019 update to “Preparing for Non-Compete Litigation,” a Practice Note I co-authored with Zachary Jackson. See below to download the full Note – following is an excerpt: Non-compete litigation is typically fast-paced and expensive. An employer must act quickly when it suspects that an employee or former employee is violating a non-compete agreement (also referred to as a non-competition agreement or non-compete). It is critical to confirm that there is sufficient factual and legal support... More
  • A federal judge in Chicago recently held that an individual can be convicted of attempting to steal a trade secret, even if the information at issue did not actually constitute a trade secret, so long as the individual believed that the information was a trade secret. In United States of America v. Robert O’Rourke Opinion, Judge Andrea R. Wood denied a post-conviction motion for a new trial in a case involving attempted and actual trade secret theft.  The decision involved a... More
  • I’m pleased to present the 2019 update to our “Trade Secrets Litigation” Practice Note, published by Thomson Reuters Practical Law. My co-author Zachary Jackson and I discuss litigation for employers whose employees have misappropriated trade secrets. See below to download it in PDF format—following is an excerpt: Trade secrets are often an employer’s most valuable assets. When an employee or former employee misappropriates an employer’s trade secrets, the employer frequently initiates litigation with several goals in mind, including: Preventing further unauthorized use or... More
  • Employers sometimes ask whether it matters if they are inconsistent in their enforcement of non-competes.  Typically, the issue is analyzed in terms of whether inconsistent enforcement undercuts the legitimate business interest justifying the restriction.  However, in a pending lawsuit, Miller v. Canadian National Railway Co., the issue is being raised in a different context: whether alleged inconsistent enforcement was racially motivated.  Specifically, the plaintiff in that case alleges that “[b]y enforcing the non-compete against Miller and not against similarly situated... More
  • A federal judge in Chicago recently taught a painful lesson to an Illinois employer: even if information is sufficiently sensitive and valuable that it could qualify as a “trade secret,” it won’t unless the owner of the information took adequate steps to protect its secrecy. In a thorough opinion issued in the case, Abrasic 90 Inc., d/b/a CGW Camel Grinding Wheels, USA v. Weldcote Metals, Inc., Joseph O’Mera and Colleen Cervencik, U.S. District Judge John J. Tharp, Jr. of the Northern... More
  • The Illinois Appellate Court recently declined to adopt a bright line rule regarding the enforceability of five year non-competes or three year non-solicits, and instead directed courts to interpret the reasonableness of any such restrictive covenants on a case-by-case basis. In Pam’s Acad. of Dance/Forte Arts Ctr. v. Marik, 2018 IL App (3d) 170803, the plaintiff dance company sued a former employee for breaching a non-disclosure agreement and restrictive covenant by allegedly opening a dance studio within 25 miles of plaintiff... More
  • Effective as of October 1, 2018, Massachusetts will become the 49th state to adopt a version of the Uniform Trade Secrets Act (leaving New York as the only holdout). Massachusetts did so as part of a large budget bill recently signed into law, which also resulted in the adoption of the Massachusetts Noncompetition Agreement Act. (The text of the Massachusetts version of the Uniform Trade Secrets Act is set out on pages 47-52 of the bill, H. 4868, while the... More
  • We just published an article with Thomson Reuters Practical Law discussing garden leave provisions in employment agreements as an alternative or a companion to traditional employee non-compete agreements. With Thomson Reuters Practical Law’s permission, we have attached it here.... More
  • Following what it described as a three year “one-man legal circus,” a Seventh Circuit panel recently affirmed a sanction award of over $440,000 in a trade secret misappropriation case, after finding that the defendant, Raj Shekar, “demonstrated nothing but disrespect, deceit, and flat-out hostility[.]” Teledyne Technologies Incorporated v. Raj Shekar, No. 17-2171, 2018 U.S. App. LEXIS 17153, at *13 (7th Cir. June 25, 2018). Shekar worked at Teledyne Technologies as a marketing and sales manager from June 2013 until he was... More
  • We non-compete lawyers often rely on an old rule of thumb when analyzing the enforceability of a non-compete: if the restriction is so broad that it would even prohibit an employee from working as a janitor for a competitor, then it is very unlikely to be enforced by a judge. And so when a federal judge expressly endorses such a rule of thumb, the urge to blog about it is simply irresistible. In Medix Staffing Solutions Inc. v. Daniel Dumrauf, Judge... More