The new Defend Trade Secrets Act (“DTSA”) allows owners of trade secrets to now bring a civil action in federal court to protect their trade secrets and confidential information. Further, under the DTSA, a trade secret owner may be awarded actual damages, injunctive relief, restitution, the extraordinary relief of ex parte seizure orders and, if there is willful or malicious misappropriation, exemplary damages (up to double damages) and attorneys’ fees. Although the DTSA is a big win for employers seeking to protect their trade secrets and confidential information, employers may be precluded from being awarded exemplary damages and attorneys’ fees if the employee’s confidentiality agreement does not contain an express exception for disclosures related to whistleblowing.… Keep reading
As the debate continues in Massachusetts as to whether or not to ban noncompetition agreements, a related question remains: Is there really any value in having employees sign noncompetition provisions? As a recent decision by U.S. District Court Judge Denise Casper in Boston Scientific Corp. v. Dongchul Lee confirms, if an employer has valuable trade secrets and wishes to prevent employees from potentially sharing them with a competitor, the answer is a resounding “yes!”
In Boston Scientific, the defendant, Dongchul Lee, was a former Boston Scientific employee who had worked on a number of its projects, including Mechanism of Action (“MOA”) research related to spinal cord stimulation (“SCS”). While Dr. Lee had signed an employment agreement containing a non-disclosure provision and requiring him to return all Boston Scientific property upon termination of his employment, the agreement did not include a noncompetition provision (presumably because Dr. Lee worked in Boston Scientific’s Valencia, California office and noncompetition provisions are unlawful in California).
In November 2013, Dr. Lee resigned from Boston Scientific and went to work for Nevro, a competitor of Boston Scientific. Further, Dr. Lee’s work for Nevro included engaging in MOA research related to SCS that was extremely similar … Keep reading
As in-house counsel, how would you like to tell your CEO: “While our customer lists, pricing information, and business processes are trade secrets, we can’t sue the independent contractor who stole them because we did not do enough to protect those trade secrets.” Sound contrived? Well, that is exactly the ruling one Massachusetts Superior Court judge recently issued in C.R.T.R., Inc. v. Lao. … Keep reading