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How much detail does it take to allege a trade secret under federal pleadings standards? Can the alleged trade secret be described generally in the complaint or must it be described in detail? This article analyzes the various considerations that inform a court’s viewpoint on the issue. Lawyers who litigate trade secret cases should be well-aware of these considerations.
In today’s strong economy, where employee mobility is common, courts are finding their case dockets crowded with misappropriation lawsuits under the Defend Trade Secrets Act (DTSA) (18 U.S.C. §1836 et seq.) and state trade secret laws. Many of these cases have the same fact pattern: an unhappy employee decides to leave for a better job, but not before downloading from his or her work computer company information and walking out the door with it. The former employer files a lawsuit against the employee (and often the new employer) in federal court under the DTSA. The defendants then elect to file a motion to dismiss the complaint, alleging that the plaintiff did not sufficiently allege the existence of a trade secret.
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By Stan Soocher
To survive preemption under §301 of the Copyright Act, courts consider whether a state law claim in a lawsuit has an “extra element” that qualitatively distinguishes it from a federal copyright claim. Courts typically find that state law claims, such as breach of contract, have an extra element. Other state law claims, such as conversion, get varying court determinations as to whether they are preempted.
By Darin Snyder, Brad Garcia, Amy Liang, and Daniel Silverman
In the past year, the Federal Circuit has repeatedly required the U.S. District Court for the Western District of Texas to transfer patent infringement suits from that district to more convenient venues, and in doing so it has provided increasingly specific — and often pointed — guidance to courts and litigants on the appropriate analysis for transfer motions.
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The U.S. Supreme Court granted certiorari in Unicolors v. H&M Hennes & Mauritz to address the following question: “Did the Ninth Circuit err in breaking with its own prior precedent and the findings of other circuits and the Copyright Office in holding that 17 U.S.C. §411 requires referral to the Copyright Office where there is no indicia of fraud or material error as to the work at issue in the subject copyright registration?”
By Scott Graham
The agency announced that the Department of Commerce has applied to register the USPTO’s marks in a bid to crack down on scammers who are impersonating the agency.