Russell Beck Speaks At Trade Secrets Protection Briefing

On June 14, 2017Russell Beck was a panelist at Charles River Associates‘ briefing on trade secrets protection and litigation. The title of the program was “How to Respond Effectively When A Company Becomes A Victim of Intellectual Property Theft.”

Charles River Associates describes the briefing as follows:

Invitation-only briefing where expert panelists will discuss some of the biggest and most challenging topics in trade secrets protection. The program will feature a variety of presentations designed to help ensure your company is prepared, including: Overview of DTSA and its Interplay with State Trade Secrets Statutes, Investigation and Litigation Issues, and Strategic Considerations and Preventative Strategies for Protection of Trade Secrets.

In addition to Russell Beck, the panel included the following speakers:

  • John J. Butts, Partner, Litigation/Controversy and Securities Departments, WilmerHale, Boston
  • Jennifer Camacho, Chief Legal Officer, Torque Therapeutics, Cambridge, MA
  • Stephen Y. Chow, Partner, Burns & Levinson LLP, Boston
  • Paul T. Dacier, General Counsel, Indigo Agriculture; Formerly Executive Vice President and General Counsel, EMC Corporation, Boston
  • Michael K. Fee, Partner and Member, White Collar Defense & Investigations Practice, Latham & Watkins LLP, Boston
  • Andy Obuchowski, Vice President, Forensic Services, Charles River Associates, Boston

The event also featured the following speakers:

  • Adam Bookbinder, Assistant U.S. Attorney, Chief, Cybercrime Unit, U.S. Attorney’s Office, Boston
  • Hon. Robert Collings, Recalled Magistrate Judge, District of Massachusetts, U.S. District Court, Boston

For up-to-the-minute analysis of legal issues concerning trade secrets and noncompete agreements in Massachusetts and across the United States, read Russell Beck’s blog, Fair Competition Law.

eck Reed Riden LLP is among the leading authorities in trade secret, noncompete, and unfair competition law, and our experience handling these matters is backed by our extensive employment lawand business litigation experience. Our hand-picked team combines attorneys with complementary expertise and practical experience.

The Wall Street Journal featured Beck Reed Riden LLP’s noncompete agreement experience. In 2016, the White House issued a report entitled, “Non-Compete Agreements: Analysis of the Usage, Potential Issues, and State Responses,” relying in part on Beck Reed Riden LLP’s research and analysis, including its 50 State Noncompete Survey.

Russell Beck’s work in this area is well recognized; it includes:

  • Over sixteen years of working on trade secret, noncompete, and unfair competition matters

  • Authoring the book Negotiating, Drafting, and Enforcing Noncompetition Agreements and Related Restrictive Covenants (5th ed., MCLE, Inc. 2015), used by other lawyers to help them with their noncompete cases

  • Drafting and advising on legislation for the Massachusetts Legislature to define, codify, and improve noncompetition law

  • Teaching Trade Secrets and Restrictive Covenants at Boston University School of Law

  • Founding and administrating the award-winning blog, Fair Competition Law

  • Establishing and administrating the Noncompete Lawyers and Trade Secret Protection groups on LinkedIn, with over 750 members around the world

  • Founded and chaired the Trade Secret / Noncompete Practice for an AmLaw 100 firm

In addition, Russell was honored for his work in this area of law in the 2016 Chambers USA Guide, which explained that “Russell Beck of Beck Reed Riden LLP is highly praised by peers, who commend his “impeccable credentials,” in the employment arena, and identify him as an “expert in noncompetition and trade secret laws.”

Beck Reed Riden LLP is Boston’s innovative litigation boutique. Our lawyers have years of experience at large law firms, working with clients ranging from Fortune 500 companies to start-ups and individuals. We focus on business litigation and labor and employment. We are experienced litigators and counselors, helping our clients as business partners to resolve issues and develop strategies that best meet our clients’ legal and business needs – before, during, and after litigation. We’re ready to roll up our sleeves and help you. Read more about us, the types of matters we handle, and what we can do for you here.

Massachusetts Court Warns Employers Not to Coast on Forum Selection Clause

he Business Litigation Session of the Massachusetts Superior Court recently dismissed a noncompete case against a California employee on the basis of forum non conveniens, notwithstanding a Massachusetts forum selection clause and a Massachusetts choice-of-law provision in the defendant’s employment agreement. The case is titled Oxford Global Resources, LLC v. Hernandezand it was issued on June 9, 2017.

This decision calls into question the enforceability of forum selection and choice-of-law provisions in employment agreements with California employees. The decision also characterizes employment agreements (especially with low-level employees) as “contracts of adhesion” that may be subject to more careful judicial scrutiny. Finally, as discussed below, the Hernandez opinion takes a dim view of what constitutes an employer’s “confidential information,” highlighting existing tension in Massachusetts case law.

Background

efendant Jeremy Hernandez was a California resident who was recruited, hired, and employed by Plaintiff Oxford Global Resources, LLC, in California. Hernandez’s employment with Oxford was conditioned on his signing a “protective covenants agreement,” which contained confidentiality, noncompete, and nonsolicitation obligations, as well as a Massachusetts choice-of-law provision and a Massachusetts forum selection clause. Oxford filed the case claiming that Hernandez breached his agreement when he used Oxford’s confidential information to solicit its clients on behalf of a competitor. Hernandez moved to dismiss the case on the basis of forum non conveniens.

As an initial matter, the Court found that because Hernandez had no meaningful opportunity to negotiate the terms of his employment agreement, it was a contract of adhesion that was subject to careful scrutiny. The Court based its finding on the following facts:

  1. Oxford would not have hired Hernandez if he did not sign the agreement.
  2. Oxford did not allege or offer any evidence suggesting that the parties negotiated the choice-of-law or forum selection provisions, or that Oxford had even demonstrated a willingness to discuss the issues.
  3. Hernandez started as an entry-level employee at $50,000 annual salary.
  4. Hernandez possessed no prior industry skill or experience that would have given him bargaining power to negotiate the agreement.

Notably, the Court did not give any weight to “boilerplate language” in the agreement stating that Hernandez had read the agreement and had the opportunity to have his own lawyer review it.

The Court next found that enforcing the agreement’s Massachusetts choice-of-law provision would result in “substantial injustice” to Hernandez. Because Hernandez was a California resident who was recruited, hired, and employed there, California law (generally voiding noncompetes) would otherwise govern the dispute absent a choice-of-law provision. The court ruled that enforcing the provision would deny Hernandez the protections of California law and subject him to a noncompete.

Although some California courts recognize a trade secret exception that permits the enforcement of agreements that are “necessary to protect the employer’s trade secrets,” the Court nevertheless found that the agreement, which provided that Hernandez could not compete against Oxford using its trade secret information, was not enforceable because it defined confidential information so broadly as to include the identities of Oxford’s customers, prospective customers, and consultants. The Court stated:

The non-competition restriction that Oxford seeks to enforce therefore goes far beyond what is permitted under California law or, for that matter, under Massachusetts law.

An employee is free to carry away his own memory of customers’ names, needs, and habits and use that information, even to serve or to solicit business from those very customers. Such “remembered information” is not confidential because the information itself, as distinguished from an employer’s compilation of such information into a list or database, is known to the customers and thus not kept secret by the employer

The Court concluded that:

Since the mere identity of customers is not confidential, the Agreement that Oxford seeks to enforce is the kind of non-competition agreement that is void under California law. Accordingly, the Court held that the choice-of-law provision was not enforceable.

Finding that it was evident that Oxford sought to include a Massachusetts forum selection clause in order to avoid the application of California law, the Court also held that the forum selection clause was not enforceable under California law.

Ultimately, the Court dismissed the case on grounds of forum non conveniens, finding that it would be unfair to compel Hernandez to defend in Massachusetts and that California had a stronger interest in the case.

Import of the Hernandez Decision

ernandez not only underscores the difficulty of enforcing restrictive covenants against California residents, but also generally calls into question the validity of choice-of-law and forum selection clauses, especially where the employee has had no meaningful opportunity to negotiate the terms of his employment agreement.

Notably, in characterizing the employment agreement as a “contract of adhesion,” the Court in Hernandez gave no weight to the affirmative representations in the agreement (stating that the employee had read and had opportunity to have his attorney review the agreement). Historically, the Superior Court has given varying degrees of weight to these types of affirmative representations.

Moreover, Hernandez adds to the argument that (in some instances) employees are permitted to use their employer’s confidential information concerning client names, needs, and habits, as long as that information is “remembered” rather than compiled into a list or database. In this respect, Hernandez highlights the tension that exists in Massachusetts case law regarding confidential information that is stored in an employee’s memory.

Given the evolving case law on these issues, businesses seeking to protect their confidential information should consult with their attorneys before drafting or enforcing these types of agreements.

***

Hannah T. Joseph, the author of this article, is a lawyer in the firm’s litigation practice, whose work in intellectual property has been recognized by, among others, the Boston Bar Association (where she serves as Co-Chair of the Boston Bar Association’s Intellectual Property Committee). Thank you to Monika Zarski for contributing to this article.

Beck Reed Riden LLP is Boston’s innovative litigation boutique. Our lawyers have years of experience at large law firms, working with clients ranging from Fortune 500 companies to start-ups and individuals. We focus on business litigation and labor and employment. We are experienced litigators and counselors, helping our clients as business partners to resolve issues and develop strategies that best meet our clients’ legal and business needs – before, during, and after litigation. We’re ready to roll up our sleeves and help you. Read more about us, the types of matters we handle, and what we can do for you here.

Russell Beck Quoted in The New York Times

New York TimesFor the second time in a month, Russell Beck was quoted by The New York Times. Russell recently appeared in an article about Uber’s termination of one of its engineers who stands accused of stealing trade secrets from Google. The story is titled “Uber Fires Former Google Engineer at Heart of Self-Driving Dispute.” The article, which appeared in the print edition on May 31, 2017, was written by technology reporters Mike Isaac and Daisuke Wakabayashi.

The story focuses on Uber’s decision to fire one the engineers it hired to lead the company’s self-driving automotive initiative. According to the article, a lawsuit by Waymo alleges that the engineer, Anthony Levandowski, misappropriated trade secrets from Google and that Uber was, in turn, using the trade secrets. The engineer was fired after the court ordered him to provide certain evidence and testimony, and the engineer asserted his Fifth Amendment right to avoid self-incrimination. In the article, Russell Beck describes the rationale for terminating the engineer:

Firing Mr. Levandowski provides Uber “a way to cut off liabilities potentially and highlights that they were not acting willfully,” said Russell Beck, an intellectual property lawyer and founding partner at the Boston law firm Beck Reed Riden.

But firing Mr. Levandowski could mean that he becomes a witness against Uber if he were to claim, for example, that Uber executives looked the other way while he used proprietary information from Waymo to advance Uber’s self-driving car efforts. Uber has repeatedly said that it has developed its autonomous car technology on its own.

For up-to-the-minute analysis of legal issues concerning noncompete agreements in Massachusetts and across the United States, read Russell Beck’s blog, Fair Competition Law.

eck Reed Riden LLP is among the leading authorities in trade secret, noncompete, and unfair competition law, and our experience handling these matters is backed by our extensive employment law and business litigation experience. Our hand-picked team combines attorneys with complementary expertise and practical experience.

The Wall Street Journal featured Beck Reed Riden LLP’s noncompete agreement experience. In 2016, the White House issued a report entitled, “Non-Compete Agreements: Analysis of the Usage, Potential Issues, and State Responses,” relying in part on Beck Reed Riden LLP’s research and analysis, including its 50 State Noncompete Survey.

Russell Beck’s work in this area is well recognized; it includes:

  • Over sixteen years of working on trade secret, noncompete, and unfair competition matters

  • Authoring the book Negotiating, Drafting, and Enforcing Noncompetition Agreements and Related Restrictive Covenants (5th ed., MCLE, Inc. 2015), used by other lawyers to help them with their noncompete cases

  • Drafting and advising on legislation for the Massachusetts Legislature to define, codify, and improve noncompetition law

  • Teaching Trade Secrets and Restrictive Covenants at Boston University School of Law

  • Founding and administrating the award-winning blog, Fair Competition Law

  • Establishing and administrating the Noncompete Lawyers and Trade Secret Protection groups on LinkedIn, with over 750 members around the world

  • Founded and chaired the Trade Secret / Noncompete Practice for an AmLaw 100 firm

In addition, Russell was honored for his work in this area of law in the 2016 Chambers USA Guide, which explained that “Russell Beck of Beck Reed Riden LLP is highly praised by peers, who commend his “impeccable credentials,” in the employment arena, and identify him as an “expert in noncompetition and trade secret laws.”

Beck Reed Riden LLP is Boston’s innovative litigation boutique. Our lawyers have years of experience at large law firms, working with clients ranging from Fortune 500 companies to start-ups and individuals. We focus on business litigation and labor and employment. We are experienced litigators and counselors, helping our clients as business partners to resolve issues and develop strategies that best meet our clients’ legal and business needs – before, during, and after litigation. We’re ready to roll up our sleeves and help you. Read more about us, the types of matters we handle, and what we can do for you here.

Russell Beck Speaks at Noncompete and Trade Secrets Symposium

On June 13, 2017, Russell Beck was a panelist at the 9th Annual Symposium on Non-Compete Agreements and Trade Secrets in Boston, Massachusetts.

BBARussell BeckThe Boston Bar Association sponsored the Symposium.

The Symposium featured discussion and debate about the legal landscape of noncompete agreements and the protection of trade secrets.

The Boston Bar Association describes the event as follows:

Since 2009 BBA has hosted this symposium bringing together drafters, sponsors, supporters and critics of state bills to reform the use of employee non-compete agreements (ENCAs) and, separately, alternatively or complementarily, to enact the Uniform Trade Secrets Act (UTSA).

In the second session of the 189th General Court, its two chambers passed differing bills for ENCA reform, each including a version of UTSA, but did not quite get over the finish line. Current bills S.840, S.988, S.1017, S.1020, H.854, H.2366, and H.2371 revisit ENCA reform and propose a version of UTSA enhanced by the BBA over the years.

***

The federal Defend Trade Secrets Act of 2016 (“DTSA”) among other things embraced “employee mobility” as a federal policy.  DTSA injunctions may not “prevent a person from entering into an employment relationship . . . or otherwise conflict with an applicable State [such as California] law prohibiting restraints on the practice of a lawful profession, trade, or business.”  While DTSA expressly does not preempt state trade secret law, it is silent about contract law, which arguably may be affected by these prohibitions.

In addition to Russell Beck, the panel included the following speakers:

  • State Senator William N. Brownsberger
  • State Senator Eileen M. Donoghue
  • State Senator Jason M. Lewis
  • State Representative Lori Ehrlich
  • State Representative Paul A. Brodeur
  • Katherine E. Perrelli, Seyfarth Shaw LLP
  • Stephen Y. Chow, Burns & Levinson LLP

For up-to-the-minute analysis of legal issues concerning noncompete agreements in Massachusetts and across the United States, read Russell Beck’s blog, Fair Competition Law.

eck Reed Riden LLP is among the leading authorities in trade secret, noncompete, and unfair competition law, and our experience handling these matters is backed by our extensive employment law and business litigation experience. Our hand-picked team combines attorneys with complementary expertise and practical experience.

The Wall Street Journal featured Beck Reed Riden LLP’s noncompete agreement experience. In 2016, the White House issued a report entitled, “Non-Compete Agreements: Analysis of the Usage, Potential Issues, and State Responses,” relying in part on Beck Reed Riden LLP’s research and analysis, including its 50 State Noncompete Survey.

Russell Beck’s work in this area is well recognized; it includes:

  • Over sixteen years of working on trade secret, noncompete, and unfair competition matters

  • Authoring the book Negotiating, Drafting, and Enforcing Noncompetition Agreements and Related Restrictive Covenants (5th ed., MCLE, Inc. 2015), used by other lawyers to help them with their noncompete cases

  • Drafting and advising on legislation for the Massachusetts Legislature to define, codify, and improve noncompetition law

  • Teaching Trade Secrets and Restrictive Covenants at Boston University School of Law

  • Founding and administrating the award-winning blog, Fair Competition Law

  • Establishing and administrating the Noncompete Lawyers and Trade Secret Protection groups on LinkedIn, with over 750 members around the world

  • Founded and chaired the Trade Secret / Noncompete Practice for an AmLaw 100 firm

In addition, Russell was honored for his work in this area of law in the 2016 Chambers USA Guide, which explained that “Russell Beck of Beck Reed Riden LLP is highly praised by peers, who commend his “impeccable credentials,” in the employment arena, and identify him as an “expert in noncompetition and trade secret laws.”

Beck Reed Riden LLP is Boston’s innovative litigation boutique. Our lawyers have years of experience at large law firms, working with clients ranging from Fortune 500 companies to start-ups and individuals. We focus on business litigation and labor and employment. We are experienced litigators and counselors, helping our clients as business partners to resolve issues and develop strategies that best meet our clients’ legal and business needs – before, during, and after litigation. We’re ready to roll up our sleeves and help you. Read more about us, the types of matters we handle, and what we can do for you here.

 

Shannon Lynch Quoted in Massachusetts Lawyers Weekly

A recent issue of Massachusetts Lawyers Weekly features Shannon Lynch in an article titled “Counterclaim in trade secrets case isn’t SLAPP suit.”

The article covers a recent decision by the Massachusetts Appeals Court in an action titled The Gillette Company v. Provost, et al.

According to the article, “defendant ShaveLogic, Inc. categorized plaintiff Gillette’s lawsuit as an action brought in bad faith to quash competition in the shaving market. Then, in response to Gillette’s special motion to dismiss ShaveLogic’s counterclaim under the anti-SLAPP statute, ShaveLogic argued that Gillette’s case was devoid of any reasonable factual support. The Appeals Court agreed. . . .”

Massachusetts Lawyers Weekly

In the article, Shannon Lynch is quoted as follows:

Shannon M. Lynch, an employment attorney in Boston who handles trade secret cases, said the decision is similar in reasoning to Brooks Automation, Inc. v. Blueshift Technologies, Inc., a 2007 decision in which the Appeals Court also rejected a company’s attempt to categorize a counterclaim in a trade secret case as a SLAPP suit.

“Both cases serve as a reminder that a company contemplating trade secret litigation should carefully evaluate the factual and legal underpinnings of its claims,” she said. “Claims devoid of the proper factual and legal support, brought as part of a strategy to squelch competition, will not find protection under the anti-SLAPP statute.”

The article is by Massachusetts Lawyers Weekly’s reporter, Eric T. Berkman.

Shannon Lynch is a partner at Beck Reed Riden LLP who focuses on employment litigation and counseling.

Beck Reed Riden LLP is Boston’s innovative litigation boutique. Our lawyers have years of experience at large law firms, working with clients ranging from Fortune 500 companies to start-ups and individuals. We focus on business litigation and labor and employment. We are experienced litigators and counselors, helping our clients as business partners to resolve issues and develop strategies that best meet our clients’ legal and business needs – before, during, and after litigation. We’re ready to roll up our sleeves and help you. Read more about us, the types of matters we handle, and what we can do for you here.

Russell Beck to Lead Trade Secrets Meeting at AIPLA

The 2017 Mid-Winter Institute of the American Intellectual Property Law Association is taking place this week in Ft. Lauderdale, Florida. Russell Beck was previously appointed Chair of AIPLA’s Trade Secret Law Committee. Russell will be leading this week’s Trade Secret Law Committee meeting in Florida.  The program for the meeting will cover the following topics:

  • New Trade Secrets Protections in the USA and the EU
  •  Litigating the Ex Parte Seizure Order Under the Defend Trade Secrets Act
  • The Latest in Practical Protective Measures for Trade Secrets
  • New Protections from Federal Agencies and the Defend Trade Secrets Act
  •  Emerging Protections for Trade Secrets Under the EU and TPP

Beck Reed Riden LLP is among the leading authorities in trade secret, noncompete, and unfair competition law, and our experience handling these matters is backed by our extensive employment law and business litigation experience. Our hand-picked team combines attorneys with complementary expertise and practical experience. The Wall Street Journal and The New York Times have both cited Beck Reed Riden LLP’s noncompete agreement experience.

Russell Beck’s work in this area is well recognized; it includes:

  • Over sixteen years of working on trade secret, noncompete, and unfair competition matters

  • Authoring the book Negotiating, Drafting, and Enforcing Noncompetition Agreements and Related Restrictive Covenants (5th ed., MCLE, Inc. 2015), used by other lawyers to help them with their noncompete cases

  • Drafting and advising on legislation for the Massachusetts Legislature to define, codify, and improve noncompetition law

  • Teaching Trade Secrets and Restrictive Covenants at Boston University School of Law

  • Founding and administrating the award-winning blog, Fair Competition Law

  • Serving as the Chair for the AIPLA’s Trade Secret Law Committee
  • Establishing and administrating the Noncompete Lawyers and Trade Secret Protection groups on LinkedIn, with over 750 members around the world

  • Founded and chaired the Trade Secret / Noncompete Practice for an AmLaw 100 firm

In addition, Russell was honored for his work in this area of law in the 2016 Chambers USA Guide, which explained that “Russell Beck of Beck Reed Riden LLP is highly praised by peers, who commend his “impeccable credentials,” in the employment arena, and identify him as an “expert in noncompetition and trade secret laws.”

Beck Reed Riden LLP is Boston’s innovative litigation boutique. Our lawyers have years of experience at large law firms, working with clients ranging from Fortune 500 companies to start-ups and individuals. We focus on business litigation and labor and employment. We are experienced litigators and counselors, helping our clients as business partners to resolve issues and develop strategies that best meet our clients’ legal and business needs – before, during, and after litigation. We’re ready to roll up our sleeves and help you. Read more about us, the types of matters we handle, and what we can do for you here.

Russell Beck and Hannah Joseph to Speak at BBA’s IP Year in Review

Russell Beck will be covering trade secrets at the Boston Bar Association’s 17th Annual Intellectual Property Year in Review. The event will be held today, January 26, 2017, from 3:00 to 6:00 p.m., with a reception to follow. More information is available here.

Among other things, Russell will be updating the legal community on the Defend Trade Secret Act’s first six months, the Ninth Circuit’s approach to the Computer Fraud and Abuse Act, and noncompete developments at the state and national level.

The 17th Annual IP Year in Review is sponsored by the BBA’s Intellectual Property Section and, within that, the IP Law Committee. Hannah T. Joseph, who currently sits as co-chair of the IP Law Committee, helped to coordinate the event alongside her co-chair, the IP Law section co-chairs, and the BBA, and will be presenting speakers at the event.

This year’s panel also includes the following speakers:

  • Lucy D. Lovrien
    • Lucy D. Lovrien, Attorney at Law
  • Julia Huston
    • Foley Hoag LLP
  • Michael Gavin Strapp
    • DLA Piper
  • Howard G. Zaharoff
    • Morse, Barnes-Brown & Pendleton, PC

The panel will cover the following topics:

  • Patents
  • Trademarks
  • Copyrights
  • Trade Secrets and Noncompetes

Beck Reed Riden LLPis among the leading authorities in trade secret, noncompete, and unfair competition law, and our experience handling these matters is backed by our extensive employment law and business litigation experience. Our hand-picked team combines attorneys with complementary expertise and practical experience. The Wall Street Journal and The New York Times have both cited Beck Reed Riden LLP’s noncompete agreement experience.

Russell Beck’s work in this area is well recognized; it includes:

  • Over sixteen years of working on trade secret, noncompete, and unfair competition matters

  • Authoring the book Negotiating, Drafting, and Enforcing Noncompetition Agreements and Related Restrictive Covenants (5th ed., MCLE, Inc. 2015), used by other lawyers to help them with their noncompete cases

  • Drafting and advising on legislation for the Massachusetts Legislature to define, codify, and improve noncompetition law

  • Teaching Trade Secrets and Restrictive Covenants at Boston University School of Law

  • Founding and administrating the award-winning blog, Fair Competition Law

  • Establishing and administrating the Noncompete Lawyers and Trade Secret Protection groups on LinkedIn, with over 750 members around the world

  • Founded and chaired the Trade Secret / Noncompete Practice for an AmLaw 100 firm

In addition, Russell was honored for his work in this area of law in the 2016 Chambers USA Guide, which explained that “Russell Beck of Beck Reed Riden LLP is highly praised by peers, who commend his “impeccable credentials,” in the employment arena, and identify him as an “expert in noncompetition and trade secret laws.”

Beck Reed Riden LLP is Boston’s innovative litigation boutique. Our lawyers have years of experience at large law firms, working with clients ranging from Fortune 500 companies to start-ups and individuals. We focus on business litigation and labor and employment. We are experienced litigators and counselors, helping our clients as business partners to resolve issues and develop strategies that best meet our clients’ legal and business needs – before, during, and after litigation. We’re ready to roll up our sleeves and help you. Read more about us, the types of matters we handle, and what we can do for you here.

Trade Secrets Laws and the UTSA – A 50 State and Federal Law Survey

Beck Reed Riden LLP is pleased to share its 50 State and Federal Survey of Trade Secrets Laws compared with the Uniform Trade Secrets Act.

The chart is a state-by-state comparison of every state’s trade secrets laws (and the Economic Espionage Act, as amended by the Defend Trade Secrets Act of 2016) to the 1985 version (i.e., the most recent version) of the Uniform Trade Secrets Act.

Screen Shot 2014-04-21 at 7.29.02 PMchart is viewable here. (It was originally prepared on August 14, 2016, and has been updated; it is current as of October 30, 2016.)

In addition, for a comprehensive summary of recent trade secrets and noncompete legislative reforms and efforts at reform around the country, please see Russell Beck’s analysis here: Changing Trade Secrets | Noncompete Laws

2017 U.S. News Best Lawyers BadgeThis 50 State and Federal trade secret law survey is intended both as a stand-alone resource and a companion to Beck Reed Riden LLP’s 50 State Survey Chart of Noncompete Laws. Beck Reed Riden LLP’s nationwide study of noncompete laws has been relied upon by the White House and the United States Department of the Treasury.

For up-to-the-minute analysis of legal issues concerning noncompete agreements in Massachusetts and across the United States, read Russell Beck’s blog, Fair Competition Law.

Beck Reed Riden LLPis among the leading authorities in trade secret, noncompete, and unfair competition law, and our experience handling these matters is backed by our extensive employment law and business litigation experience. Our hand-picked team combines attorneys with complementary expertise and practical experience. The Wall Street Journal and The New York Times have both cited Beck Reed Riden LLP’s noncompete agreement experience.

Russell Beck’s work in this area is well recognized; it includes:

  • Over sixteen years of working on trade secret, noncompete, and unfair competition matters

  • Authoring the book Negotiating, Drafting, and Enforcing Noncompetition Agreements and Related Restrictive Covenants (5th ed., MCLE, Inc. 2015), used by other lawyers to help them with their noncompete cases

  • Drafting and advising on legislation for the Massachusetts Legislature to define, codify, and improve noncompetition law

  • Teaching Trade Secrets and Restrictive Covenants at Boston University School of Law

  • Founding and administrating the award-winning blog, Fair Competition Law

  • Establishing and administrating the Noncompete Lawyers and Trade Secret Protection groups on LinkedIn, with over 750 members around the world

  • Founded and chaired the Trade Secret / Noncompete Practice for an AmLaw 100 firm

In addition, Russell was honored for his work in this area of law in the 2016 Chambers USA Guide, which explained that “Russell Beck of Beck Reed Riden LLP is highly praised by peers, who commend his “impeccable credentials,” in the employment arena, and identify him as an “expert in noncompetition and trade secret laws.”

Beck Reed Riden LLP is Boston’s innovative litigation boutique. Our lawyers have years of experience at large law firms, working with clients ranging from Fortune 500 companies to start-ups and individuals. We focus on business litigation and labor and employment. We are experienced litigators and counselors, helping our clients as business partners to resolve issues and develop strategies that best meet our clients’ legal and business needs – before, during, and after litigation. We’re ready to roll up our sleeves and help you. Read more about us, the types of matters we handle, and what we can do for you here.

50 State Noncompete Chart

Beck Reed Riden LLP is pleased to make available its updated 50 state (plus DC) survey chart of noncompete laws. The chart is a summary of employee noncompetition laws and applicable standards throughout the country.

For up-to-the-minute analysis of legal issues concerning noncompete agreements in Massachusetts and across the United States, read Russell Beck’s blog, Fair Competition Law.

Both the White House and the United States Department of the Treasury have recently relied upon this nationwide study of noncompete laws.

In addition, recent articles in the New York Times and The Wall Street Journal feature Beck Reed Riden LLP’s expertise in noncompete and trade secret issues.

The chart covers the following:

  • Whether noncompete agreements are permitted in the state

  • Governing statutory authority, if any

  • Identification of the protectable interests (also known as legitimate interests or legitimate business interests)

  • Applicable standards for enforcement

  • Industries or professions exempt from noncompete agreements

  • Whether the state follows the reformation rule (also known as “judicial modification,” the “rule of reasonableness,” the “reasonable alteration approach,” and the “partial-enforcement” rule), the blue pencil doctrine, or the red pencil doctrine (also known as the “all or nothing” rule)

  • Whether noncompete agreements are enforceable against at-will employees whose employment was terminated without cause

The chart is available for download here.

This version was updated as of July 11, 2017.

Check back for periodic updates or email us at info@beckreed.com, and we will automatically send the latest updates as they become available.

Please note that the chart is not legal advice, nor is it a substitute for proper legal research and advice. It is provided for informational purposes only.

is among the leading authorities in trade secret, noncompete, and unfair competition law, and our experience handling these matters is backed by our extensive employment law and business litigation experience. Our hand-picked team combines attorneys with complementary expertise and practical experience. Our hand-picked team combines attorneys with complementary expertise and practical experience

Beck Reed Riden LLP is Boston’s innovative litigation boutique. Our lawyers have years of experience at large law firms, working with clients ranging from Fortune 500 companies to start-ups and individuals. We focus on business litigation and labor and employment. We are experienced litigators and counselors, helping our clients as business partners to resolve issues and develop strategies that best meet our clients’ legal and business needs – before, during, and after litigation. We’re ready to roll up our sleeves and help you. Read more about us, the types of matters we handle, and what we can do for you here.

Russell Beck on Noncompete Agreements in Lawyers Weekly

Russell BeckThe June 27, 2016, issue of Massachusetts Lawyers Weekly features Russell Beck in an article titled “Action on non-competes eyed before session’s end.”

The article covers the 8th annual Boston Bar Association symposium on non-compete agreements and trade secrets. Russell Beck was a speaker on the panel, which featured “drafters, sponsors, supporters and critics of state bills to reform the use of employee non-compete agreements.”

Massachusetts Lawyers WeeklyThe article discusses legislation pending in the Massachusetts State Legislature that would reform the use and enforcement of non-compete agreements. One controversial aspect of the pending legislation is the so-called “Garden Leave” clause, which would require employers to pay half the salary of employees for the duration of their noncompete period after they leave.

In the article, Russell Beck addresses the proposed Garden Leave provision as follows:

One argument against the garden-leave provision, according to Boston attorney Russell Beck, is that the employee has already been compensated for accepting his non-compete, making additional consideration, post-employment, unnecessary or unjust.

It also has been argued that garden leave “would significantly adversely disadvantage small companies, who can’t afford to pay somebody not to work,” he added.

The current legislation also contains a provision that would prevent enforcement of noncompete agreements against employees who have been terminated without cause or laid off. In the article, Russell Beck is quoted as follows on this provision:

However, Beck noted that, as a practical matter, companies typically do not seek to enforce non-competes against such employees, relying instead on non-disclosure or non-solicitation agreements to protect their interests.

Another provision evoking mixed feelings is the proposed elimination of the practice of allowing judges to “red-line” overbroad non-compete agreements. The theory is that it will incentivize companies to tailor their non-compete agreements more narrowly from the outset.

“It moves the needle and makes a company focus more on bringing the language in line with what the law requires,” Beck said, adding that employees gain the “significant benefit” of receiving clear notice about what they are restricted from doing.

Separate from the noncompete aspects of the pending Massachusetts legislation, if passed, the bill will adopt the Uniform Trade Secrets Act. The article addresses the uncertainty about the new trade secrets law, with some saying that it would make it harder to obtain triple damages and attorneys’ fees in trade secret misappropriation cases. The article quotes Russell Beck on this topic as follows:

Others are not sure the bar will be raised much, however. For one thing, there are cases on both sides of the issue of whether 93A even applies to a departing employee who misappropriates trade secrets, Beck said.

The controlling authority, the Appeals Court case Specialized Technology Resources, Inc. v. JPS Elastomerics Corp., answers that question in the affirmative. However, Superior Court Business Litigation Session Judge Janet L. Sanders suggested that Specialized Technology was wrongly decided in her decision in The Gillette Company v. Craig Provost et al. late last year.

But presuming that 93A does apply in that context, Beck thinks the same conduct that would have established a valid 93A claim will meet the UTSA’s “willful and malicious” standard.

The article was written by Massachusetts Lawyers Weekly news reporter Kris Olson.

For up-to-the-minute analysis of legal issues concerning noncompete agreements in Massachusetts and across the United States, read Russell Beck’s blog, Fair Competition Law.

Beck Reed Riden LLPBLF 2014_Silver_Generalis among the leading authorities in trade secret, noncompete, and unfair competition law, and our experience handling these matters is backed by our extensive employment law and business litigation experience. Our hand-picked team combines attorneys with complementary expertise and practical experience. The Wall Street Journal featured Beck Reed Riden LLP’s noncompete agreement experience. Recently, the White House issued a report entitled, “Non-Compete Agreements: Analysis of the Usage, Potential Issues, and State Responses,” relying in part on Beck Reed Riden LLP’s research and analysis, including its 50 State Noncompete Survey.

Russell Beck’s work in this area is well recognized; it includes:

  • Over sixteen years of working on trade secret, noncompete, and unfair competition matters

  • Authoring the book Negotiating, Drafting, and Enforcing Noncompetition Agreements and Related Restrictive Covenants (5th ed., MCLE, Inc. 2015), used by other lawyers to help them with their noncompete cases

  • Drafting and advising on legislation for the Massachusetts Legislature to define, codify, and improve noncompetition law

  • Teaching Trade Secrets and Restrictive Covenants at Boston University School of Law

  • Founding and administrating the award-winning blog, Fair Competition Law

  • Establishing and administrating the Noncompete Lawyers and Trade Secret Protection groups on LinkedIn, with over 750 members around the world

  • Founded and chaired the Trade Secret / Noncompete Practice for an AmLaw 100 firm

In addition, Russell was honored for his work in this area of law in the 2014 Chambers USA Guide, which explained that “Russell Beck of Beck Reed Riden LLP specializes in noncompete litigation and is a trade secrets expert. He comes highly recommended by his peers for his nationwide practice in this niche. ‘He’s fantastic,’ sources say.”

Beck Reed Riden LLP is Boston’s innovative litigation boutique. Our lawyers have years of experience at large law firms, working with clients ranging from Fortune 500 companies to start-ups and individuals. We focus on business litigation and labor and employment. We are experienced litigators and counselors, helping our clients as business partners to resolve issues and develop strategies that best meet our clients’ legal and business needs – before, during, and after litigation. We’re ready to roll up our sleeves and help you. Read more about us, the types of matters we handle, and what we can do for you here.

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