Companies sometimes discover warning signs or clear activity of trade secret theft but do not know how to deal with the issue right away.  Whether it is a current employee who remotely accesses company trade secret information while on vacation, or a departing employee who conveniently failed to return a company laptop, that company may be heading toward eventual trade secret litigation. But the immediate path forward seems unclear and presents so many options of what to do. Because the hours and days after discovery of a potential trade secret theft are extremely important, we suggest a simple set of best practices for responding to that potential trade secret theft: 1) understand the issue, 2) contain the issue, 3) exhaust the issue, and 4) consider bringing the issue to court.
Continue Reading

Santa’s 10 considerations for maintaining trade secrets at the North Pole:

  1. Restrict access to facility by choosing remote location.
  2. Make the Elves sign Confidentiality Agreements as part of the hiring process.
  3. Have robust exit interviews with all departing elves, reminding them of their obligations to keep “reindeer games” secrets.
  4. Insist that gift wrapping specialists with

On Wednesday November 2, the Senate Judiciary Committee held a hearing on the pending Defend Trade Secrets Act of 2015, S. 1890. We have previously reported on the Act, which will create a federal civil cause of action for trade secret misappropriation, which includes an ex parte seizure provision.

The hearing began with Chairman Grassley making opening comments about the importance of trade secrets protection and meeting the increased threats of misappropriation in this global and mobile world. Each of the four witnesses then gave opening statements, followed by a question and answer period in which several members of the Committee took part. The witnesses included DuPont’s Chief IP Counsel Karen Cochran, Corning’s Chief IP Counsel Tom Beall, and Professor Sharon Sandeen (who opposes the Act). There were several notable moments at the hearing:

  • Ms. Cochran, holding up a Kevlar® bulletproof vest, explained that DuPont’s experience in the Kolon case (in which Crowell & Moring represented DuPont) helped inform DuPont of the need for the Act. Specifically, she explained, (i) the need for assured access to federal courts in technology based trade secret cases and (ii) the need for access to the court to immediately halt the further dissemination of trade secrets and evidence destruction.


Continue Reading

Capitol Buidling 1
[via Flickr user Glyn Lowe Photoworks]

On Monday November 30, the House demonstrated its resolve to fight high-tech crime such as trade secret theft by passing the Strengthening State and Local Cyber Crime Fighting Act (H.R. 3490). The Act formally establishes the National Computer Forensics Institute, which is located in Hoover, Alabama and has been operating since 2008. Under the Act, the Institute will:

  • Educate law enforcement officers, prosecutors, and judges on (i) cyber and electronic crimes; (ii) methods for investigating such crimes, including forensically examining computers and mobile devices; and (iii) prosecutorial and judicial challenges related to such crimes and forensic examinations; and
  • Train law enforcement officers to (i) investigate cyber and electronic crimes; (ii) forensically examine computers and mobile devices; and (iii) respond to network intrusions.


Continue Reading

USChinaFlags
[via Flickr user CDC Global]

This past Friday, President Barack Obama and Chinese President Xi Jinping announced that the United States and China had reached a “common understanding” to fight state-sponsored, corporate cyber espionage between the countries.

During a joint press conference, President Obama said that “neither the U.S. nor the Chinese government will conduct or knowingly support cyber theft of intellectual property, including trade secrets or other confidential business information for commercial advantage.”  President Jinping added that “both governments will not engage in or support online theft of intellectual property.”


Continue Reading

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 view taken within the Ninth Circuit as to the scope of claims properly falling under the CFAA, the district court held that there was no viable claim under the CFAA.
Continue Reading

The recent arrests of Chinese nationals for alleged economic espionage are raising eyebrows across American industries, who are rightfully asking how they can protect themselves from becoming the next foreign target. U.S. universities have been key figures in these headlines. The risk of economic espionage is a serious one for higher education because universities are

With the ability to move large volumes of information electronically very quickly, the threats from cyber intrusions, joint development partners, and rogue employees are more significant every day. Dollars lost due to trade secret theft tally in the tens if not hundreds of millions annually. President Obama in his State of the Union address warned