I have had the pleasure of attending the AIPLA’s Trade Secret Law Summit in sunny San Diego this week. Following are a few insights and takeaways from the conference:
- A good legal advisor will counsel his or her clients to implement appropriate measures to protect company trade secrets. There are lots of steps companies can take, but the following “motto” is a simple and catchy way to help companies think about how to protect their trade secrets: “State it, Stamp it, Secure it, Shred it, Sign it, Supplement it, and Substantiate it.”
- Creating a formal inventory of a company’s trade secrets as part of a trade secret protection plan can be more complicated than meets the eyes. Outside counsel, in-house counsel and business decision-makers should be involved in deciding whether this step is appropriate.
- There continues to be increasing academic attention to the issues of employee mobility and the use of non-competes. Views are mixed on whether the research on the use of non-competes shows if they are good or bad for business and economic growth. For more on this topic, check out studies and writings by Prof. Evan Starr of the University of Maryland and Prof. Ted Sichelman of the University of San Diego. Prof. Orly Lobel of the University of San Diego has also written extensively on this topic.
- Noncompete and trade secret practitioners often are asked to advise clients on matters outside the jurisdiction in which they are barred. This may include drafting covenants governed by another state’s laws or litigating matters in other jurisdictions. Particularly if you are not in a law firm that has offices in multiple states, you should build a network of practitioners in other jurisdictions that you can consult with on out-of-state matters.
- Draft restrictive covenant agreements and policies as if a jury will read them. When the jury is deliberating, they won’t be able to listen to your argument again, but they will get to review the contract you are trying to enforce over and over.
- Cybersecurity alert: Companies, including law firms, must maintain ongoing processes for evaluating risk in an IT environment. And don’t use your mother’s maiden name as a security password. Sophisticated hackers can easily find that information.
For more information on Georgia Non-Competes & Trade Secrets, visit my blog.