Crowell & Moring presented a webinar discussing the most influential trade secret cases from 2021 along with new legal developments, including non-compete legislation and trade secret maintenance.

Partner Astor Heaven and Counsel Raija Horstman kicked off the conversation to discuss modern trade secret protection under the DTSA and the biggest damages from jury verdicts in 2021. Counsel Christine Hawes gave an overview of recent federal and state non-compete legislation, and Associate Dalton Hughes wrapped up the webinar by covering new legal implications for maintaining and identifying trade secrets.

Key takeaways from the webinar include:

  • Trade secret plaintiffs won substantial damage awards in 2021 under both compensatory and punitive damages. A jury awarded 32 million in compensatory damages and 120 million in punitive damages in Eastern District of Texas case ResMan LLC v. Karya Property Mgmt.
  • Substantial relief also came in the form of exclusion order, with LG Chem obtaining a 10-year exclusion order against SK Innovation from the ITC, blocking nearly all imports into the U.S. of lithium ion products.
  • Many states proposed or passed restrictions on non-compete clauses in contracts, including Illinois, Nevada, Oregon and DC. The federal government also drafted regulations against non-competes in 2021, like the Freedom to Compete Act, which could see implementation in the upcoming year.
  • Federal courts clarified the burden of trade secret owners to properly disclose and identify trade secrets at the outset of litigation. Quintara Biosciences, Inc. v. Ruifeng Biztech Inc. held that specific disclosures must occur before extensive discovery to prevent “retroactive stamping” of trade secrets, and Mallet and Company v. Lacayo issued a win for the defendant after the plaintiff tried to identify trade secrets through industry practices instead of pleading the required particular information.

If you missed the live discussion, you can listen to a recording HERE.