Trade Secrets, Non-Competes & Employee Mobility
Arent Fox attorneys have notable experience counseling clients on best practices for identifying their valuable trade secrets, and for designing, implementing, and maintaining trade secret policies and protections under the federal Defend Trade Secrets Act, the Uniform Trade Secrets Act, and related state laws. Our litigators often represent companies seeking to protect and enforce their trade secrets, as well as defend companies and individuals who are accused of trade secret misappropriation. We routinely advise clients on ways to monetize their trade secrets, including through licensing.
Arent Fox stands apart because of our integrated approach. We pair attorneys from our industry leading practices with our top litigators to create a formidable team. No matter the issue — from obtaining a preliminary injunction to assembling a veteran trial team — we help you marshal the facts, understand the law, and make informed decisions before events take control.
In particular, our attorneys have extensive experience litigating complex misappropriation claims involving computer hardware, software, and data security technologies. Examples of representative trade secret litigation matters include:
- Defended a South Korean company in trade secrets litigation in the Eastern District of Virginia involving the alleged theft of dozens of trade secrets related to the manufacturing process for para-aramid fibers. The case, which also involved claims of civil and statutory conspiracy as well as antitrust counterclaims, was tried to a jury over eight weeks during the summer of 2011, making it one of the longest civil trials on record in that district.
- Defended a South Korean company in criminal prosecution under the Economic Espionage Act in the Eastern District of Virginia, involving the alleged theft of trade secrets related to the manufacturing process for para-aramid fibers.
- Represented an individual charged in federal court with theft of trade secrets and economic espionage for allegedly hiring laid-off employees of a competitor in order to obtain confidential and proprietary information.
- Represented a prominent defense government contractor in litigation against a former employee who misappropriated valuable trade secrets related to bidding for contracts, and who attempted to hide the misappropriation through the spoliation of electronically stored information and other evidence. Secured a temporary restraining order (TRO) and preliminary injunction, and obtained an award finding willful and malicious violation of the Defend Trade Secrets Act (DTSA) and permitting recovery of substantial fees and costs related to the litigation and the extensive spoliation efforts.
- Defended a company in trade secrets litigation alleging the misappropriation of hundreds of trade secrets related to business intelligence software. Secured the exclusion of plaintiff’s damages expert and theories on pretrial motions, and obtained a defense verdict on all but three of the alleged trade secret claims.
- Defended a company in state court litigation involving the alleged misappropriation of customer lists and other alleged trade secrets related to casualty insurance business. After a multi-day bench trial, received a defense verdict on plaintiff’s misappropriation claims.
- Defended a start-up company in a month-long jury trial in state court over alleged misappropriation of trade secrets and unfair business practices arising from the expert witness industry. The case settled on favorable terms, below statutory offer, following jury verdict.
- Defended a start-up clean room parts manufacturer against allegations that the company’s competing designs were made using the plaintiffs’ trade secrets. Following extensive discovery, the case was dismissed.
- Defended a computer communications hardware manufacturer in a case involving misappropriation of trade secrets and trespass to the plaintiffs computer systems. After initial litigation, a confidential business resolution was obtained.
- Defended a company in state court litigation filed by the former CEO of a subsidiary who sought substantial severance under his executive agreement. The company alleged, in defense, that the CEO’s misappropriation of trade secrets barred the executive’s entitlement to the contract severance. The case settled after initial litigation.
- Defended a company in state court litigation filed by a former salesperson who claimed substantial unpaid commissions. The company asserted counterclaims and third-party claims against the former salesperson and his new employer for the misappropriation of its trade secrets, including customer and pricing information related to its financial printing services. The case settled following discovery on the company’s trade secret claims.
- Defended a company in federal court litigation against Defense of Trade Secrets Act (DTSA) and related state claims filed by the former employer of a newly hired sales manager asserting misappropriation of its product and pipeline data. Negotiated a consent order for limited forensic examination in lieu of TRO.
Many of our team members have technical backgrounds and advanced degrees in these areas that allows them to fully understand both the underlying technology and the law. Finally, because trade secret misappropriation cases often lead to criminal investigations and potential prosecution by state or federal authorities, we regularly draw upon the experience of our white collar practice to advise clients.
How We Help
- Breach of Contract
- Employment Agreements
- Non-Compete & Non-Disclosure Agreements
- Internal Investigations & Audits
- Disputes & Litigation
- Policies & Licensing
- Criminal Investigations and Prosecutions
- Temporary Restraining Orders and Injunctions