Monthly Archives: June 2012

“Full Time and Attention” Clauses

Chip Collins has written an interesting post on “full time and attention” clauses in employment contracts.  These clauses often state that an employee must devote his or her “full time and attention” to the employer’s business, i.e., the employee cannot engage in other work, including side businesses or preparing to compete with the employer, during the course of the employment.  Massachusetts employers might benefit from including these provisions in employment contracts in addition to non-compete,… More

“Preparing for Non-Compete Litigation”

I read an interesting article by Peter A Steinmeyer and Zach C. Jackson on the steps an employer should consider before filing a noncompete lawsuit.  It’s in a very useful format that lists bullet points under each item.  I found it particularly interesting that the authors noted that sending a copy of a “cease and desist” letter to the new employer can come with risks.  A “cease and desist”… More

“Social Media: A Danger to Company IP”

Law360 has posted a useful article by Ben Quarmby about the dangers of employee use of social media to a company’s patents, trade secrets, and copyrights.  The big danger for trade secrets is disclosure.  Trade secrets must remain secret if they are to be protected by the law, and “[o]nce the secret has been disclosed on a social media public platform, it is difficult to place it back under wraps.” … More

If You’re Going to File a Trade-Secret Lawsuit, You Better be Able to Identify the Trade Secret

Sometimes a big problem for plaintiffs in trade-secret lawsuits is identifying precisely what was stolen.  In a recent case out of California, a plaintiff employer sued a former employee who was hired by a competitor for misappropriation of trade secrets.  The employee had backed up his company laptop on a hard drive, and he did not return the hard drive after switching jobs.  The hard drive contained over 4,000 files that the employer alleged contained trade secrets. … More

Update on the Brocade Case: Court Dismisses Claims Based on Information from Settlement Discussions

Last month, I wrote about a trade-secret case in which a defendant employee, David Cheung, asked the court to order the plaintiff employer, Brocade Communications, to pay his attorney’s fees because the claims against him were frivolous.  Last Wednesday, the court agreed to dismiss the case because the only evidence Brocade had against Cheung was gleaned in settlement discussions with him, evidence which would be inadmissible at a trial under the rules of evidence. … More

I’m Quoted in a Massachusetts Lawyers Weekly Article on the Computer Fraud and Abuse Act

I’m quoted in this week’s edition of Massachusetts Lawyers Weekly in an article that discusses the differences between Ninth Circuit and First Circuit case law interpreting the Computer Fraud and Abuse Act.  (The First Circuit includes Massachusetts.)  The article also explains how this circuit split affects claims against employees who take confidential information from their former employers.  The article originally appeared in Lawyers USA magazine and is available here.… More

My Article on the Implications of United States v. Nosal Appears in This Month’s Massachusetts Lawyers Journal

My article on the recent Ninth Circuit decision in United States v. Nosal, a case concerning the Computer Fraud and Abuse Act that has created a split in the case law with the First Circuit, appears in this month’s Massachusetts Lawyers Journal.  The circuit split affects claims by employers against former employees for theft of confidential information.  Read the article here (it’s on page 18). … More

New Case Emphasizes that the Lack of “Boilerplate” in a Noncompete Agreement Can Have Consequences

Many contracts, including noncompetition agreements, have what’s called “boilerplate” language, “ready-made or all-purpose language that will fit in a variety of documents.” Black’s Law Dictionary 72 (2d pocket ed. 2001). One type of boilerplate often contained in a noncompete is an assignability clause, which might say something like: “This Agreement is assignable by the Company and inures to the benefit of the Company, its subsidiaries, affiliated corporations, successors,… More

Defense that Defendant Employee was “Set Up” Does Not Hold Up in Contempt Case

In a case that was decided last year but that last week received attention from Massachusetts Lawyers Weekly, Judge Renee Dupuis of the Norfolk County Superior Court ruled that a defendant employee violated a preliminary injunction by hatching a plan either to steal clients from his former employer or to destroy his former employer’s business.

In Angstrom Advanced, Inc. v. Mziguir, the employer,… More