Trade Secrets Trends

Trade Secrets Trends

Analysis and commentary on the latest developments in trade secrets protection, disputes, and enforcement

Derek Hecht

Derek Hecht Derek Hecht is an associate in Crowell & Moring's Orange County and Los Angeles offices, where he is part of the Labor & Employment and Product Liability & Torts practice groups. Derek's practice is diverse, with cases ranging from complex commercial and mass tort litigation, to litigation and counseling on a wide range of labor and employment matters.

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Waymo v. Otto: Self-Driving and Self-Dealing

Posted in U.S. Litigation
Last week, Waymo LLC (a subsidiary of Google’s parent company Alphabet, Inc.) filed suit in the Northern District of California against Uber Technologies, Inc. and Otto Trucking LLC for misappropriation of trade secrets, patent infringement, and unfair business practices. The case is sure to become one of the first high-profile cases alleging claims under the… Continue Reading

Oculus: Looks Like Trade Secret Theft

Posted in U.S. Litigation
On February 1, 2017, a Texas jury awarded Zenimax $500 million following trial in Zenimax’s longstanding dispute with Oculus, the creators of the Oculus Rift virtual reality system. Zenimax and Oculus had initially worked together on the Oculus Rift, with Zenimax programmer John Carmack (a well-known figure in the video game industry) working with Oculus… Continue Reading

Designation of Trade Secrets a One-Way Ratchet in Discovery

Posted in U.S. Litigation
One of the most complicated parts of litigating a trade secret case is the discovery process.  Plaintiffs often seek discovery immediately to determine the full extent of information that was taken and how it was used, and often seek expedited discovery to prevent the defendants from destroying or hiding evidence of wrongdoing.  Defendants, on the… Continue Reading

Recent Decision Reinforces the Significance of Motions to Seal in Trade Secret Cases

Posted in U.S. Litigation
Plaintiffs in trade secret cases are often torn between two conflicting interests: the need to state their trade secrets with enough specificity to survive a motion to dismiss, and the necessity of keeping their trade secrets confidential. In order to resolve this dilemma, plaintiffs often seek to file their complaints under seal, so that the… Continue Reading

Be Careful What You Wish For: The Importance of Forum Selection Clauses

Posted in U.S. Litigation
Last week, the California Court of Appeal issued a decision highlighting the need for employers, especially large employers with operations and employees in several states or countries, to take great care in drafting mandatory forum selection clauses and to always be aware of the relevant law in the chosen jurisdiction. In Richtek USA, Inc. v.… Continue Reading

Hammering a Hard Drive Instead of a Royalty Check

Posted in U.S. Litigation
Earlier this month, in Ajaxo Inc. v. E*Trade Financial Corp., Case No. 1-00-CV-793529, the long-running dispute between Ajaxo Inc. and E-Trade over Ajaxo’s proprietary stock trading software took yet another turn following a two-part trial in Santa Clara County Superior Court.   In the latest round of this fight over trade secrets related to proprietary stock… Continue Reading

Access v. Use: An Important Distinction in the Computer Fraud and Abuse Act

Posted in Data Protection, Non-Competes, U.S. Litigation
Earlier this month, the District Court for the Northern District of California addressed the scope of the Computer Fraud and Abuse Act (“CFAA”), drawing a firm line between causes of action based on improper access of an employer’s computer, and causes of action based on improper use of the employer’s data.  Because of the narrow… Continue Reading

Access Denied — Christensen Sets the Standard for Violations of Penal Code § 502(c)

Posted in U.S. Litigation
Last week, the Ninth Circuit  issued an important decision for employers in United States v. Christensen, No. 08-50531, 2015 WL 5010591, at *14 (9th Cir. Aug. 25, 2015). In that case, the Court of Appeals held that employees who misuse their access to their employers’ computer systems can be held criminally liable under California Penal… Continue Reading