Monthly Archives: April 2012

Ninth Circuit En Banc Decision Creates Circuit Split with First Circuit that Affects Employer Claims Against Employees under the Computer Fraud and Abuse Act

Below is an article that I wrote for the June edition of Massachusetts Lawyers Journal, the monthly publication of the Massachusetts Bar Association. It discusses an important case that interprets the Computer Fraud and Abuse Act and the split in the law that case has created with the First Circuit, which includes Massachusetts.

The U.S. District Court for the District of Massachusetts has noted that employers are increasingly using the federal Computer Fraud and Abuse Act (CFAA) “to sue former employees and their new companies who seek a competitive edge through wrongful use of information from the former employer’s computer system.” But in April,… More

Second Circuit Reverses Convictions in Data-Theft Prosecution and Narrowly Interprets Federal Criminal Statutes with Important Intellectual Property Implications

My colleague Daniel Marx has written an excellent summary and analysis of United States v. Aleynikov, a Second Circuit decision that affects interpretations of the Computer Fraud and Abuse Act, National Stolen Property Act, and Economic Espionage Act.  It is available on our Security, Privacy and the Law Blog.  Importantly, as Dan explains, the district court’s narrow interpretation of the CFAA in that case remains good law,… More

Survey Reveals Generation Gap in Employee Attitudes Relating to Employer Confidential Information

A recent survey of 2,625 adult Americans reveals some interesting attitudes towards employer confidential information, including different attitudes depending on a person’s age. Over two-thirds (68%) of 18-34 year olds responded that it is acceptable to remove confidential information from their place of employment. This contrasts with just half (50%) of those 55 or older believing such behavior is acceptable.

In fact, 86% of those 55 and over believe someone should be fired for taking confidential information,… More

Former Intel Employee Pleads Guilty to Theft of $1 Billion in Trade Secrets

A former Intel computer hardware engineer recently agreed to plead guilty to five counts of wire fraud in Massachusetts federal court stemming from his theft of 13 secret documents from Intel’s facility in Hudson, Massachusetts while he was an employee there in June 2008. Biswamohan Pani became an employee of Intel in May 2003 and began looking for a new job in February 2008. He started working at Advanced Micro Devices,… More

Can You Keep a Secret?: Dispute Remains Over Secrecy of Marketing Information in Trade Secret Case

An interesting case decided on April 3 in Florida confirms the axiom that information that is not secret cannot be a trade secret. In Godwin Pumps of America, Inc. v. Ramer, Godwin sued its former employee, Ramer, for, among other things, trade secret misappropriation under Florida’s Uniform Trade Secret Act (see here for more on the Act). Godwin argued that there was nothing in dispute for a jury to hear on Ramer’s liability and moved for the judge to enter summary judgment against Ramer. … More

Will Massachusetts Adopt the Uniform Trade Secrets Act?

At my last Massachusetts Bar Association (MBA) Civil Litigation Section meeting, I learned about a bill to adopt the Uniform Trade Secrets Act (UTSA) that has been floating around the Massachusetts Legislature since late January. Forms of the UTSA have been adopted in 46 states in addition to the District of Columbia, Puerto Rico, and the U.S. Virgin Islands. Only New York, Texas, North Carolina, and Massachusetts have not adopted it.… More