Russell Beck and Erika Hahn Featured in Law360 on Federal Noncompete Reform

Russell Beck and Erika Hahn‘s analysis of the misconceptions underlying various efforts to reform, and even ban, noncompete agreements was published by Law360 under the title, “Noncompete Misconceptions May Be Inhibiting Reform.”

The full analysis is also available (without subscription) at Fair Competition Law as “Federal Noncompete Initiatives: When you can’t convince the states, ask the feds.

The analysis discusses recent efforts at the federal level to restrict or ban noncompetes, which follows on the heels of several years of legislative efforts across myriad states to modify noncompete laws. Although very few states have enacted laws that ban noncompete agreements outright, recently-filed federal legislation seeks to just that.

According to Russell and Erika’s analysis, much of the push for restrictions or a ban is premised on:

  • The mistaken assumption that Silicon Valley is the epicenter of tech because California bans noncompetes;
  • Recent preliminary, inconclusive and somewhat inconsistent studies, the nuances of which are ignored;
  • The mistaken belief that trade secret laws and nondisclosure agreements provide adequate protections for trade secrets;
  • The mistaken belief that noncompetes prevent employees from using their general skill and knowledge; and
  • The prevalence of abuses in the use and drafting of noncompetes.

As discussed in the article, Russell Beck submitted testimony to the United States Senate Committee on Small Business and Entrepreneurship hearing on “Noncompete Agreements and American Workers.”

In his testimony and in the article, Russell made the five following recommendations:

  1. Ban noncompetes for low-wage workers.

As a group, low-wage workers rarely have the level of exposure to trade secrets or depth and breadth of customer relationships that might warrant the enforcement of a noncompete, given the countervailing issues.

  1. Ban noncompetes for medical professionals.

The use of noncompetes for doctors, nurses and other health care providers has received substantial scrutiny in the past few years, with many states changing their noncompete laws to ban such agreements. Given the overwhelming public interest in patients having the ability to select who provides their medical care, exempting medical professionals is certainly a rational policy.

  1. Require employers to provide advance notice if they wish employees to sign a noncompete.

One of the other major criticisms of noncompetes is that they are often sprung on employees the day they show up to work. A simple way to eliminate that problem, while retaining the potential benefits of negotiated noncompetes . . ., is to require advance notice.

  1. Adopt the so-called purple pencil approach for overly broad noncompetes.

That approach is a hybrid of the reformation approach (where courts rewrite overly broad agreements) and the red pencil approach (where courts void an overly broad noncompete in its entirety). Specifically, it requires courts to void an overly broad noncompete unless the language reflects a good faith intent to draft a narrow restriction, in which case the court may reform it

  1. Expressly authorize springing noncompetes.

To the extent that one of the goals is to encourage companies to limit their use of noncompetes generally, employers must have a viable remedy for when employees violate other, less-restrictive, obligations such as nondisclosure agreements and nonsolicitation agreements, misappropriate trade secrets, or breach their fiduciary duties to the company. In Massachusetts, the new noncompete law expressly authorizes courts to do this, essentially by imposing a noncompete.

These recommendations were among those suggested by the Obama administration in its 2016 call to action on noncompetes and adopted by many of the states making changes to their laws in the past few years.

In July 2019, Law360 published Russell Beck’s analysis of misconceptions in the noncompete debate.

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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, and includes:

  • Over twenty four years of working on trade secret, noncompete, and unfair competition matters
  • Assisting the Obama White House as part of a small working group to develop President Obama’s Noncompete Call to Action
  • 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 matters
  • 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 1,600 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 2019 Chambers USA Guide, which stated that Russell Beck is a “terrific” attorney, who “is an excellent choice of counsel regarding noncompete agreements and the resolution of restrictive covenant disputes.” Chambers noted that Russell “basically wrote the new Massachusetts statute on noncompetes” and that “he’s an expert in employee mobility and nonrestrictive covenants.”

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 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.

 

Law360 Publishes Russell Beck’s Analysis of Misconceptions in the Noncompete Debate

Russell Beck‘s analysis of the misconceptions concerning the impacts of noncompete agreements was published by Law360 under the title, “Misconceptions In The Debate About Noncompetes.”

According to Law360, Russell Beck’s article is one of the “10 Most-Read” employment Law360 articles of 2019.

The analysis focuses on how the mistaken assumption that correlation implies causation has been increasingly informing decisions in the ongoing debate about the effects of noncompetes on the economy.

In particular, the analysis addresses two primary errors: (1) assuming that California’s ban on employee noncompetes is the reason for Silicon Valley’s success; (2) interpreting the developing research on the impacts of noncompetes as establishing that noncompetes are bad for the economy; and (3) failing to understand the unintended consequences of a ban on noncompetes, including, in particular, the elimination of an important tool for the protection of trade secrets.

The analysis ends with a caution to lawmakers considering changes to noncompete laws:

The proper regulation of employee noncompetes is an extremely complicated issue with no silver bullet. If policymakers believe that the prevailing market forces are insufficient to adequately limit the abusive use of noncompetes, legislative action is certainly an appropriate response. But, absent making the affirmative decision to base legislative policy on a visceral antipathy toward noncompetes, policymakers should engage in a critical analysis and avoid the temptation to rush to judgment. In particular, they need to be aware of – and at least consider, if not carefully weigh – the unintended adverse consequences of a policy that would ban noncompetes wholesale. The research into those considerations is, however, even more nascent than the research into the theorized adverse impacts of noncompetes.

In light of this, lawmakers should tread cautiously down any path that leads to the elimination of noncompete agreements. Indeed, the Obama Administration in its Call to Action and every state changing its noncompete laws has so far recognized this as well – and all have taken a tempered, considered approach.

The full analysis is also available (without subscription) at on Fair Competition Law as “Correlation Does Not Imply Causation: The False Comparison of Silicon Valley and Boston’s Route 128.”

____

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, and includes:

  • Over twenty four years of working on trade secret, noncompete, and unfair competition matters
  • Assisting the Obama White House as part of a small working group to develop President Obama’s Noncompete Call to Action
  • 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 matters
  • 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 1,600 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 2019 Chambers USA Guide, which stated that Russell Beck is a “terrific” attorney, who “is an excellent choice of counsel regarding noncompete agreements and the resolution of restrictive covenant disputes.” Chambers noted that Russell “basically wrote the new Massachusetts statute on noncompetes” and that “he’s an expert in employee mobility and nonrestrictive covenants.”

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 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 CEO Connection Mid-Market Convention

On September 24, 2018, Russell Beck spoke on a panel at the CEO Connection Mid-Market Convention in Philadelphia titled “Cyber-Security and Protecting Your Trade Secrets.” The presentation focused on best practices for protecting trade secrets and mitigating losses in the event of misappropriation or cyberattack.

According to the CEO Connection, the Mid-Market Convention is the premier annual gathering of mid-market CEOs. The event, held at the Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania, brings together prominent leaders from diverse industries, along with select government officials, prominent academic figures, subject matter experts and media personalities for a three-day program designed to benefit their companies, the mid-market and the greater society.

The other panelists for the cybersecurity presentation were:

  • Special Agent Benjamin R.P. Stone with the FBI’s Philadelphia Field Office
  • Daimon Geopfert – Principal, National Leader of Security and Privacy Risk Consulting, RSM US LLP
  • Jim Vaughn, Managing Director for iDiscovery Solutions, Inc.

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 twenty two years of working on trade secret, noncompete, and unfair competition matters
  • Assisting the Obama White House as part of a small working group to develop President Obama’s Noncompete Call to Action
  • 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 1,600 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 2017 Chambers USA Guide, which stated, “‘Excellent attorney‘ Russell Beck of Beck Reed Riden LLP is a ‘terrific noncompete specialist,’ according to industry commentators. He is a skilled litigator with experience representing clients ranging from individuals to large corporations at both trial and appellate levels.”

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.

Ars Technica quotes Russell Beck on the New Massachusetts Noncompete Law

Russell Beck was quoted by Ars Technica in a recent article, “REGIONAL ADVANTAGE — Massachusetts gives workers new protections against noncompete clauses,” that discusses the new Massachusetts noncompete law.

Addressing why Massachusetts rejected California’s approach of banning noncompetes, Russell is quoted as follows:

“The legislature made the determination that noncompetes do serve legitimate business purposes and shouldn’t be prohibited,” said Russell Beck, an attorney who helped draft the legislation.

“California has by far the most trade secrets litigation,” Beck pointed out to me. “The inference I draw from that is that companies need to protect their information one way or another; if they can’t use noncompetes, they’re going to use trade secrets law.”

The article was published on August 22, 2018.

For the past nine years, Russell Beck has been advising various members of the Massachusetts Legislature (primarily Senator Will Brownsberger and Representative Lori Ehrlich) and he was the lead drafter of their bills. Most of the language in the current noncompete law is language that Russell Beck drafted or is based on language that he drafted, though a number of the provisions (such as garden leave) were added by others or significantly modified by others.

For up-to-the-minute analysis of legal issues concerning non-compete 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 twenty two years of working on trade secret, noncompete, and unfair competition matters
  • Assisting the Obama White House as part of a small working group to develop President Obama’s Noncompete Call to Action
  • 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 1,600 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 2017 Chambers USA Guide, which stated, “‘Excellent attorney‘ Russell Beck of Beck Reed Riden LLP is a ‘terrific noncompete specialist,’ according to industry commentators. He is a skilled litigator with experience representing clients ranging from individuals to large corporations at both trial and appellate levels.”

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 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 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.

 

Russell Beck to Speak on Federal Trade Secrets Law

Russell BeckRussell Beck will be giving a seminar titled “The Defend Trade Secrets Act of 2016: What You Need To Know.” The seminar is sponsored by the American Law Institute and will be held on Thursday, June 9, 2016, from 2 to 3 PM EDT. Registration and more information is available here.

The American Law Institute describes the upcoming seminar as follows:

American Law InstituteTrade secret theft has been a nightmare for employers and available legal tools to fight it were relatively weak. That changed on April 27 of this year, when in a departure from the partisan gridlock that has gripped Washington, the House of Representatives joined the Senate in passing a sweeping new statute to protect trade secrets, the Defend Trade Secrets Act of 2016 (DTSA). The DTSA creates a new federal civil cause of action for trade secret theft, as well as an ex parte seizure provision to prevent dissemination of misappropriated trade secrets.

Join us for this concise one-hour program, presented by two nationally recognized experts, and get the information you need to advise your clients on this new legislation and how it can be used to protect their vital trade secrets.

Russell will be presenting with Claire Laporte of Foley Hoag LLP, Boston.

Russell’s seminar this week follows a recent series of his presentations across the country about the Defend Trade Secrets Act of 2016.

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.

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 has been repeatedly honored for his work in this area of law in the 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.

Russell Beck’s Presentations on the Defend Trade Secrets Act

Russell BeckRussell Beck is giving a series of presentations across the country about the Defend Trade Secrets Act.

In May 2016, President Obama signed the Defend Trade Secrets Act of 2016 (“DTSA”)—a law that is arguably the most significant development in trade secrets law in over 30 years—putting trade secrets on par with other intellectual property.

On May 24, Russell spoke on a panel at the Boston Bar Association titled “The Defend Trade Secrets Act of 2016: A Federal Private Action for Global Unfair Competition.” The presentation focused on the anticipated utility of the new federal law:

Last month, responding to estimated annual losses to foreign thieves of $300 billion of trade secrets and 2.1 million jobs, Congress voted nearly unanimously (Senate 87-0, House 410-2) to enact the Defend Trade Secrets Act of 2016 (“DTSA”).

Will the new ex parte seizure provision adapted from anti-counterfeiting law help stem these losses?  Or does the existing Economic Espionage Act of 1996 framework into which DTSA was inserted expose American companies to claims of misappropriation in foreign territory?

On May 26, Russell appeared with a panel on a webinar hosted by the American Intellectual Property Law Association titled “Are you ready for the Defend Trade Secrets Act?” The presentation focused on what practitioners need to know and do regarding the DTSA. The panelists discussed the law’s addition of federal jurisdiction as an option for litigants, the statute creates opportunities and uncertainties around how and where to file litigation, as well as how to deal with combined state and federal claims.

White HouseOn May 26, Russell also gave a presentation with a panel at the Massachusetts Bar Association titled “What’s Mine is Mine — Trade Secrets: The new federal private right of action for misappropriation of trade secrets.”

On May 27, Russell and Stephen Chow, of Burns & Levinson, LLP, gave a seminar at Massachusetts Continuing Legal Education titled “‘1st Look at the Defend Trade Secrets Act.” The MCLE seminar focused on the impact of the DTSA on companies’ ability to protect their trade secrets, the potential ramifications of missteps along the way, and the risks to U.S. companies and others. A recording of this webcast is available online from MCLE.

In addition, on May 19, Russell moderated a panel discussion at the American Intellectual Property Law Association‘s 2016 Spring Meeting Session in Minneapolis, MN. The AIPLA presentation was titled “Corporate Practice/ Trade Secret Law” and it focused on topics including the ethics of monitoring employees for security breaches and the use of restrictive covenants for in-house counsel.

On June 13, 2016, Russell will be a panelist at the 8th Annual Symposium on Non-Compete Agreements and Trade Secrets in Boston. The Boston Bar Association is sponsoring the Symposium, which will be held on Monday, June 13, 2016, from 4 to 6:30 p.m. at 16 Beacon Street in Boston. Registration information is here.

BLF 2014_Silver_GeneralBeck 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.

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 has been repeatedly honored for his work in this area of law in the 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.

Russell Beck and Hannah Joseph Speak about Protecting Trade Secrets

Screen Shot 2016-02-26 at 2.45.12 PMRussell Beck and Hannah Joseph will speak about protecting trade secrets from insider threats (i.e., employees) at the Boston Bar Association today. More information is available here.

Attendees at today’s event will learn how to draft nondisclosure agreements and other restrictive covenants, what policies to implement within the workplace, and what steps should be taken with respect to both new and departing employees.

Russell Beck is a member of the Board of Trustees of the Boston Bar Foundation, which is the official charity of the Boston Bar Association. Hannah Joseph is a member of the Boston Bar Association’s Intellectual Property Law Committee.

Beck Reed Riden LLPBLF 2014_Silver_Generalis 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 Beck Reed Riden LLP handles, and what we can do for you here.

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