We understand that a company’s closely guarded ideas and data are often its most valuable assets. Trade secrets include any confidential information that has economic value or confers a competitive advantage by virtue of being kept secret. A small sampling would include processes, formulas, research data, product designs, software programs, financial data, laboratory notebooks, and lists of existing or prospective customers or suppliers – as long as they are valuable and as long as reasonable measures are in place to restrict access to individuals who have a legitimate need to know or otherwise have an obligation of confidentiality.
Trade secret cases commonly arise when an employee entrusted with confidential company information takes a job with a competitor. When someone gains unauthorized access to a trade secret, litigation is sometimes the only way to prevent use or disclosure. Time is often of the essence. Emergency relief can be essential to safeguarding the integrity of a company’s trade secrets. By the same token, companies often face claims that they have come by their own products, processes or techniques through misappropriation of another’s secrets.
In this context, Sunstein is particularly well equipped to be of service. We combine extensive experience in employment litigation with equally broad technical expertise. Our attorneys include mechanical engineers, aerospace engineers, electrical engineers, biochemists, physicists, and computer scientists. In the rush for relief that often occurs, these resources enable us quickly to determine our client’s rights under any express or implied employment agreements. More important, we can efficiently assess the value of the asserted trade secret in the relevant industry and determine whether it is in fact unknown in the field, a critical capability for practitioners in this area of litigation.
Our representative activities include:
- Obtaining injunctive relief against persons who had misappropriated our client’s trade secrets
- Defending against claims that our client’s products or processes had been misappropriated from another company
- Counseling companies how, through employment practices, contracts, and access restrictions, to safeguard their confidential information in order to qualify for trade secret protection
- Advising companies how to conduct hiring to avoid facing misappropriation claims from prospective employees’ former employers
- Guiding individuals how to avoid liability for misappropriation when starting a new company or switching jobs
If you have any questions about trade secret litigation or would like to discuss trade secret litigation in the context of your business, contact a member of our Litigation Practice Group.