Arizona Case Examines When Customer Lists Can Be Trade Secrets

Whether customer lists are trade secrets is one of the thorniest issues in the trade-secret world. In Caliss v. Unified Financial Services, LLC, 2013 WL 1490465 (Ariz. Ct. App. April 11, 2013), the court did a good job listing the factors considered when making this determination under Arizona’s Uniform Trade Secret Act. The plaintiff previously […]

Data Breach Report Shows Broad Threat to Trade Secrets and Proprietary Information

Verizon recently published its 2013 Data Breach Investigations Report. It contains a number of troubling findings about companies’ exposure to data breaches, which could threaten proprietary information and trade secrets. While many think that these issues only affect large companies, the report found that 31% of breach victims were companies with fewer than 100 employees. […]

Florida Case Addresses Enforcing a Noncompete Agreement that Protects Trade Secrets

In Florida, restrictive covenants like noncompete agreements are governed by Section 542.335, Florida Statutes. When determining whether a noncompete’s time period is reasonable, the statute applies different presumptions based on the interest being protected. For example, a restrictive covenant against a former employee not predicated on trade secrets and not associated with a sale of […]

Trade Secrets In the Cloud: When Can Cloud Providers Access and Share Your Information?

This is the second in a series of posts addressing trade secrets in the age of cloud computing. In an earlier post, I talked about how cloud providers’ terms of service affect trade-secret protections. In particular, to the extent companies store proprietary information with cloud providers who can access and share stored files, those companies […]

Georgia Case Shows When Not to File a Trade-Secrets Lawsuit

When an employee leaves to start her own business and takes clients with her, the former employer often reacts emotionally. There may be a sense of betrayal, which can be followed by a desire to lash out, frequently through filing suit against the former employee. Many times, there are real grounds for a lawsuit. But […]

6th Circuit Addresses Reasonable Protection of Trade Secrets

In Kendall Holdings, Ltd. v. Eden Cryogenics, LLC, 2013 WL 1363728 (6th Cir. April 5, 2013), the 6th Circuit addressed Ohio’s Uniform Trade Secrets Act (UTSA) and considered whether the plaintiff took reasonable steps to protect its purported trade secrets. The plaintiff and defendants were in the cryogenics industry. (“Cryogenics” sounds a lot cooler than it […]

How to Use Exit Interviews to Protect Proprietary Information

In an earlier post, I listed ten ways businesses can protect their trade secrets. Now, let’s look at one of these in a bit more depth: exit interviews. An exit interview—i.e., a meeting with an employee who is leaving the company—can be an incredibly effective tool for employers for a wide variety of reasons, and all […]

Missouri Court Rules that Client Information Is Not a Trade Secret

The issue of whether information about a company’s clients can qualify as a trade secret is a tricky one, since much of this information can be obtained from the clients themselves. In Central Trust and Investment Co. v. Kennedy, 2013 WL 268687 (Mo. Ct. App. Feb. 19, 2013), the Missouri Court of Appeals concluded that […]

Trade Secrets and Due Diligence

We all know that when companies are looking to purchase/merge with/make a significant investment in another company, they have their attorneys conduct due diligence regarding the transaction and the acquisition target. Generally, this due diligence includes identifying key employees, determining whether these employees have executed noncompete agreements, and reviewing the agreements. But acquiring companies too […]