Non-Compete and Trade Secrets
In today’s economy, companies face challenges – old and new – relating to the protection of human and intellectual capital. To help companies address these complex and evolving issues, Duane Morris has assembled a dedicated team of lawyers with significant experience in the many intersecting areas of law that fall under the broad headings of “non-compete” agreements and “trade secrets.”
The multi-disciplinary, integrated Duane Morris Non-Compete and Trade Secrets Practice Group draws on experience from:
- Commercial Litigation
- Employment and Employee Benefits and Executive Compensation
- Intellectual Property: Trade Secrets
- Privacy and Data Protection and Cybersecurity
- White-Collar Criminal Defense and Corporate Investigations
- Industry-specific resources
- State-specific resources, with substantial experience representing clients in and navigating the nuances of various states, including the California Trade Secrets team
Our clients benefit from a unique client-centered approach, from a team of lawyers across the U.S. and beyond who are not only well-versed in the core legal issues at play with respect to non-compete agreements, unfair competition, and trade secrets in various states, but who also understand the unique challenges in their clients’ industries.
Restrictive Covenant Drafting and Review
Our team helps clients craft restrictive covenants, including non-competition, non-solicitation, and confidentiality and invention agreements, that are tailored to our clients’ businesses and needs. We craft these agreements with an eye toward maximizing success in the face of evolving and varied state laws that may impact multi-state businesses and personnel.
We counsel our clients on strategies and agreements relating to the separation/exit interview process for departing employees, independent contractors, and consultants to best protect the clients’ investment in their confidential information, trade secrets, and goodwill.
Onboarding and Risk Mitigation
Our team counsels clients on hiring, onboarding, and retaining personnel from competitors, and helps clients evaluate and mitigate legal risks involved in that process.
Injunctions, Declaratory Judgments, and Other Litigation
When a dispute cannot or should not be resolved without court intervention, Duane Morris’ team aggressively prosecutes and defends claims for:
- breach of non-competition, non-solicitation, non-interference, and non-disclosure covenants;
- breach of invention and holdover agreements;
- misappropriation of trade secrets;
- unfair competition;
- employee raiding;
- breach of fiduciary duty;
- tortious interference with contractual and business relationships; and
- violation of the Computer Fraud and Abuse Act and related claims.
Our team, with years of experience in this arena, is well versed in navigating the thorny procedural, legal, and practical business issues that these cases entail.
Trade Secret Audits
Duane Morris helps clients identify, catalog, and assess trade secrets and other knowledge assets through comprehensive audits. After assessing the client’s portfolio of sensitive knowledge assets, technology use, existing agreements, and current policies and practices, Duane Morris offers practical strategies to further protect these critical assets and reduce vulnerabilities.
Duane Morris provides exhaustive due diligence services to help companies understand and evaluate intellectual property, proprietary business processes, and trade secret issues involved in a proposed transaction.
Our team assesses risks and helps ensure that the acquiring company has in place the most effective permissible provisions for protecting confidential information and trade secrets, preventing unfair competition, and retaining key employees.
For More Information
California is a center of technology and innovation, home to iconic companies, start-ups and dreamers who create valuable intellectual property in a range of different fields. Given its unique economy, it is not surprising that California has developed its own, unique approach to the laws governing trade secrets, unfair competition and employee mobility. For example, California adopted the Uniform Trade Secret Act, but only after amending it to create a statutory requirement for plaintiffs to designate trade secrets before discovery can proceed and altering the extent to which the Act displaces other remedies, among other variations. Further, California disapproves of the inevitable disclosure doctrine, which can apply in certain other states to provide a basis for enjoining employees who depart for competitors. California has also enacted a statute to govern the circumstances in which a company or an employee owns an invention.
Understanding and having experience with these nuances as the Duane Morris team does is important to providing robust trade secret advice and representation in California. Members of the California Trade Secrets Sub-Practice help their clients navigate California’s dynamic legal terrain whether the issue involves applying California’s version of the Uniform Trade Secret Act, California Business & Professions Code § 16600 (which prohibits many types of noncompetition agreements) or the Computer Fraud & Abuse Act (which has been heavily litigated here and is subject to varying interpretations different from its sister circuits).
Members of the group have extensive experience litigating claims and issues under the California Uniform Trade Secret Act in state and federal court and in arbitration and mediation proceedings. These attorneys use their specialized knowledge of California law to collaborate with clients to handle and resolve trade secret issues and allegations when they arise, and to prevent and preempt them when feasible.
Duane Morris’s trade secret attorneys advise and counsel clients on best practices for trade secret protection, enforcement and with respect to conducting trade secret investigations. Duane Morris represents both plaintiffs and defendants in California courts, litigating trade secret matters through trial and/or structuring settlements to achieve their clients’ objectives.