Crowell & Moring invites you to attend the webinar, Trade Secrets Investigations, taking place on Thursday, April 29, 2021 at 1:00 pm ET.

Join Raija Horstman, Caroline Brown, Astor Heaven, Steve Byers, and Christine Hawes for a discussion offering practical guidance on steps throughout the lifecycle of a trade secrets theft investigation, from detection to preparing for litigation, including criminal enforcement. Trade secrets and other confidential business information come in many forms, and for many businesses are its most valuable assets. Knowing how to detect and investigate potential instances of trade-secrets theft, whether attributable to insider or outside threats, is therefore critical, as is understanding how to respond to competitor allegations that your company possesses stolen trade secrets.

To register, click here.

This webinar is part of a four day webinar series: Investigations: Readiness and Response Webinar Series. To view the full agenda, click here.

 

Simple facts…

In 2018, an employee requested access to and a copy of all their personal data processed by the employer during the past decade (this is pursuant to the data subject’s right of access enshrined in art. 15 (1) and (3) of the European General Data Protection Regulation (“GDPR”)). The employee considered the response unsatisfying and filed a complaint with the Belgian Data Protection Authority (“DPA”). The DPA issued a decision on February 9, 2021 (the “Decision”).

Continue Reading Invoking Trade Secrets to Block a Request to Access Personal Data under the GDPR: A “Threat” Has to Be Clearly Demonstrated

In an opinion first issued in June 2020 and modified in October 2020, the Fifth Court of Appeals in Texas granted summary judgment in a trade secret dispute based on plaintiff’s failure to present any facts that defendants had access or exposure to plaintiff’s claimed trade secrets.  Josh Malone designed a device that fills and seals water balloons.  Kendall Harter did the same.  Mr. Malone filed a patent.  Mr. Harter accused Mr. Malone of stealing his water balloon filling design.  According to Mr. Harter and KBIDC Investments, the company that acquired Mr. Harter’s company, Mr. Malone came up with his patented product by stealing the trade secrets belonging to Mr. Harter and then KBIDC Investments.  So, KBDIC Investments sued Mr. Malone and Zuru Toys, which acquired an interest in Mr. Malone’s “Bunch O’ Balloons” product for trade secret misappropriation. Continue Reading Bunch O’ Balloons Trade Secret Dispute Results in Bunch O’ Appeals

Tips for European employers on how to protect company trade secrets.

7 to 12 years. According to an Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development study, this is the average amount of time spent by an employee with any one European Union employer. However, in some countries, regions and sectors, employees move around more frequently than this, and the current COVID-19 pandemic will also have had an impact on these numbers.

In any event, if one of your employees leaves, you do not want your company’s trade secrets and other confidential information to leave with them.

Continue Reading Employees may come and go. But will your trade secrets follow them?

On March 13, 2021, borrowing from California Code of Civil Procedure § 2019.210 (which requires a plaintiff to “identify. . . trade secret[s] with reasonable particularity” before it can obtain discovery on those trade secrets), a Northern District of California judge narrowed trade secret claims asserted under the Defend Trade Secrets Act (“DTSA”) due to the plaintiff’s failure to specifically identify most of its asserted trade secrets prior to discovery.  Although not an explicit requirement under federal law, the Court reasoned that the disclosure requirement served to prevent plaintiffs from getting discovery and then using that discovery to “cleverly specify whatever happens to be there as having been trade secrets stolen from plaintiff.”  The decision could be significant for trade secret litigants going forward.

Continue Reading Federal Court Imports California Trade Secret Disclosure Rule and Narrows DTSA Claim

What does it take to sufficiently plead trade secret claims under the New Jersey Trade Secrets Act?

In Lard-Vid, LLC and Visual Image Display UK, Ltd. v. Ground Support Labs LLC et al., 2021 N.J. Super. Unpub. LEXIS 323, at *15 (N.J. Sup. Ct. Feb. 26, 2021), the Court addressed exactly this issue and dismissed plaintiffs’ trade secret claims for failure to allege facts sufficient to satisfy the elements of the New Jersey Trade Secrets Act.

Continue Reading New Jersey Superior Court Tosses Trade Secret Claims for Failure to Plead with Sufficient Specificity Under New Jersey Trade Secrets Act

Since its passage in 2016, the Defend Trade Secrets Act (“DTSA”) has become a powerful tool for litigants seeking civil redress for the misappropriation of trade secrets to get into federal court.  The DTSA is particularly important because it allows litigants to seek redress for misappropriation that happens outside of the United States – overcoming the general presumption that federal law does not have an extraterritorial reach.  We recently discussed the significance of the DTSA’s application across the globe and how to effectively achieve quick recourse.

Continue Reading The Sedona Conference Publishes An Analysis of How to Seek Global Redress of Trade Secret Misappropriation

We have reported on various aspects of the EU Trade Secrets Directive on this blog. The legal requirements for something to qualify as a trade secret, the misappropriation of trade secrets and the remedies that exist to rectify such misappropriation, as well as the protection of trade secrets during court proceedings have all been discussed. However, in order to be properly prepared for trade secrets litigation and enforcement – both in Belgium and across the EU – you also need to know what damages are potentially available for trade secrets misappropriation and more importantly what evidence will have to be shown to the court.

Continue Reading Enforcement of trade secrets in the EU: compensation and damages for trade secret misappropriation

A Complaint recently filed in the Southern District of New York may shed light on courts’ willingness to apply a broad interpretation of “misappropriation” in trade secrets cases. Plaintiff Greenpoint Capital Management, which grants loans to law firms to fund high-stakes litigation, has accused Apollo Hybrid Value Management LP and Apollo Hybrid Value Management GP of misappropriating trade secrets in violation of  the Defend Trade Secrets Act (“DTSA”). The Complaint also includes claims for breach of contract, unfair competition, unjust enrichment, and misappropriation of trade secrets under New York’s common law. In essence, Greenpoint alleges that it provided Apollo with trade secrets – namely, a “unique and proprietary method of valuing a borrower’s portfolio of cases, referred to as the ‘Greenpoint Valuation Method’” – as part of a proposed investment in the litigation finance business, and that Apollo then passed those trade secrets to a Greenpoint competitor, Kerberos Capital Management LLC. Greenpoint alleges that in February 2020, it engaged in meetings with Apollo about a possible investment in litigation finance, and that it shared with Apollo details about its Valuation Method, subject to a non-disclosure agreement. Greenpoint then claims that its email-logging software showed that a February 2020 email to Apollo containing confidential documents was opened by an individual in or near Illinois. Apollo asserts that “Kerberos’ approach to litigation finance and its marketing deck” – which, it alleges, had previously been “rudimentary” and “employed generic techniques” – dramatically changed, becoming more sophisticated and “reveal[ing] that Kerberos adopted significant aspects of the Greenpoint Valuation Method.”

Notably, Kerberos is not – yet – a party to the litigation. To prevail, Greenpoint will need to establish that Apollo – not Kerberos – violated the DTSA by “misappropriating” the trade secrets in question. Under the DTSA, misappropriation includes unauthorized disclosure of a trade secret by a person who, at the time of disclosure, knew (or had reason to know) that the trade secret was “acquired under circumstances giving rise to a duty to maintain the secrecy of the trade secret or limit the use of the trade secret.” The dispute for the court to resolve will likely revolve around the scope and enforceability of the non-disclosure agreement, as well as whether the information was in fact disclosed to Kerberos (rather than just being opened by an authorized person located in Illinois).

The case is Greenpoint Capital Management v. Apollo Hybrid Value Management, 21-cv-01654, U.S. District Court, Southern District of New York (Manhattan).