Under California law, non-compete provisions with an employee are generally unenforceable.  Statutory exceptions to this rule include the seller of a business’s goodwill or a membership interest in an LLC.  Courts have also recognized a judicial exception to this rule: where the non-compete is necessary to protect an employer’s trade secret information.  This judicial exception

A central issue in all trade secret litigation is the adequacy of a plaintiff’s pre-discovery disclosure of the alleged trade secrets required by California Code of Civil Procedure section 2019.210.  Section 2019.210 provides that a plaintiff suing for misappropriation of trade secrets must identify the alleged trade secrets with “reasonable particularity” before commencing discovery.  The

By:   James Kachmar

Those of you who attended our seminar on protecting confidential and trade secret information last Spring may recall our discussion about a trade secret misappropriation case involving a Twitter account. In that case, PhoneDog v. Kravitz, 2011 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 129229 (N.D. Cal. 2011), a product news and review company, PhoneDog, claimed it issued Twitter accounts to its employees so that they could publish content for users to support PhoneDog’s business. When one employee, Kravitz, left PhoneDog, he refused to provide PhoneDog with access to the Twitter account he was assigned, changed its handle to delete references to PhoneDog, and continued to use it (with its 17,000 followers) for personal purposes.Continue Reading A Reminder to Employers of the Need for Social Media Policies

Readers of this blog will note our frequent reminders that preemption under California’s Uniform Trade Secret Act (“CUTSA”) can threaten other common law claims if not properly pled.  A recent decision out of the Eastern District of California in Hat World, Inc. v. Kelly, 2012 U.S. Dist. Lexis 113060 (Aug. 10, 2012) reinforces this position. 


While the bulk of trade secret litigation focuses on civil claims and remedies, an article from last week’s Chicago Tribune is a reminder that stealing trade secrets can have serious consequences. The Chicago Tribune story (link here: http://www.chicagotribune.com/business/breaking/chi-chinese-engineer-to-be-sentenced-for-stealing-motorola-secrets-20120719,0,1594304.story) reports that the sentencing for a software developer caught with taking Motorola, Inc.’s trade secrets will