BLOGS: Trade Secrets Blog
Monday, October 31, 2011, 10/31/2011 10:51:00 AM
Wednesday, October 26, 2011, 10/26/2011 10:33:00 AM
TCW Says Gundlach and Doubleline Owe Over $80 Million for Royalties on Trade Secrets He Misappropriated
Tuesday, October 25, 2011, 10/25/2011 09:14:00 AM
The complaint claims Hnedak said Groupon is “where she learned the daily deal business.”
Monday, October 17, 2011, 10/17/2011 08:47:00 AM
Sens. Coons (D-DE) and Kohl (D-WI) are proposing a bill that would allow the suits in cases claiming trade secrets theft by foreign governments and companies.
Sen. Coons stated:
If our goal is to protect American jobs by leveling the playing field with countries like China, then we must take steps to protect American intellectual property from theft and counterfeit. When foreign companies and governments steal our ideas, they’re stealing more than just formulas and schematics — they’re stealing jobs. These amendments are rooted in specific concerns I have heard repeatedly from manufacturers in Delaware who operate in a constant state of fear that their innovations are going to be stolen and sold by a foreign company. Theft of intellectual property and trade secrets have had devastating impacts on American companies, and these amendments would help give our nation the tools to fight back.
Friday, October 14, 2011, 10/14/2011 04:24:00 PM
Thursday, October 13, 2011, 10/13/2011 05:34:00 PM
Amendment will allow corporations to file legal grievances in federal court in cases of economic espionage
WASHINGTON – Today, U.S. Senators Herb Kohl and Christopher Coons (D-DE) introduced an amendment to the Currency Exchange Rate Oversight Reform Act aimed at protecting American trade secrets and innovation. The amendment gives companies the ability to go to federal court to stop misappropriation of trade secrets and allows them to seek compensation for losses due to economic espionage.
“The problem of economic espionage is not new, but it has grown and evolved as the information age has reached a point where trade secrets can circle the globe in the blink of an eye. U.S. corporations face intense competition at home and abroad. As much as 80% of the assets of today’s companies are intangible trade secrets. They must be able to protect their trade secrets to remain competitive and keep our economy strong,” Kohl said.
In 1996, Congress enacted Senator Kohl’s Economic Espionage Act, making it a federal crime to steal trade secrets. Revolutions in technology since then, however, have enabled different methods of trade secret theft and economic espionage which pose a threat to U.S. companies to the tune of billions of dollars a year. As a result, Kohl is the sponsor of the “Economic Espionage Penalty Enhancement Act of 2011” to increase maximum penalties for stealing a trade secret to benefit a foreign company.
To complement the criminal enforcement of economic espionage, this amendment would provide another way for companies to protect their trade secrets. Today, civil claims for trade secret theft must generally be brought in state court. This amendment enables victims of trade secret theft to seek injunctive relief, putting an immediate halt to trade secret misappropriation, and compensation for their losses in federal court. This amendment will help fill a gap in federal intellectual property law by providing legal protections for non-patentable, non-copyrightable innovations, on the condition that the owner of the innovation has taken reasonable measures to keep the innovation a secret.
There are many examples of economic espionage throughout our country. Last year, a Chinese national working for an American automobile manufacturer was convicted of stealing trade secrets for a Chinese competitor. His actions were estimated to cost the American company between $50 and $100 million.
In Wisconsin, a disgruntled employee of a company that manufactures aftermarket airplane parts was prosecuted under the economic espionage statute and sentenced to thirty months in prison for attempting to sell trade secrets to competitors. The trade secret – details and measurements of particular airplane parts – took years and hundreds of thousands of dollars for the manufacturer to create, test and gain Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) approval. Fortunately, the perpetrator was caught before he sold the trade secrets, but had he been successful the manufacturer would likely have been forced out of business.
Tuesday, October 11, 2011, 10/11/2011 11:48:00 AM
Press Millen Discusses DuPont Trade Secrets Ruling With The Guardian
The Guardian, one of the world’s leading newspapers, recently interviewed Womble Carlyle attorney Press Millen about a landmark trade secrets judgment.
A Virginia jury awarded the DuPont corporation $920 million from a South Korean company after allegations that the competitor stole trade secrets concerning DuPont’s Kevlar body armor technology.
Monday, October 10, 2011, 10/10/2011 02:03:00 PM
We talk a lot about how trade secrets – as a legal concept – goes far beyond classic technical information such as the secret formula for Coca-Cola. And rightly so.
The flip side of that issue, though, are the occasional forays into court by former employers seeking to enjoin employees who really can’t possibly have information that fits the category.
Knowing only what’s in the newspaper story, this appears to fall into the latter category.
The facts are that Anthony Settipani left his job with Randazzo Fruit Market after being turned down for a supervisor’s job. He decided to go to work for a competitor, Vince & Joe’s Gourmet Market.
Now Randazzo’s is trying to enforce a territorial non-compete against Settipani based on trade secrets.
Settipani’s lawyer, Elizabeth Sokol, was trenchantly quoted:
It’s ridiculous. They’re claiming that they are trying to protect trade secrets, proprietary information. (But) there’s no trade secrets on how to stack apples. They seemed to think he was involved in pricing decisions. The only pricing he’s involved in is he put price stickers on product. I haven’t been able to pin anyone (Randazzo representatives) on, ‘What are these trade secrets?’
A typical case like this one ends up with the former employer not succeeding in court, but with the former employee out of a job just because of the swirl of the litigation.
Oh, and what was Settipani paid by Randazzo’s? $9 an hour. Sad.