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Stealing Trade Secrets: Is There an App for That?

 
by John Marsh 22. February 2012 16:30

Given the kerfuffle over the recent admissions by Facebook, Twitter, Foursquare, Path and others that they downloaded personal information and/or uploaded contacts through, among other things, Apps on users' iPhones, it was inevitable that someone would ask whether there might be trade secrets that could be misappropriated as well. Larry Magid recently wrote a post, "Privacy, Safety & Trade Secrets at Risk in Latest Apple App Flap," for Forbes posing that very question. 

For the digitally unsavvy who missed last week's news, Larry's article presents a nice summary: On February 8th, a developer discovered that his "entire address book (including full names, emails and phone numbers) was being sent as a list to Path.” Path, an app that allows people to create and share their personal journals, quickly admitted it, apologized, and issued a new version that sought permission before uploading user data. Other companies, including Foursquare, Twitter, Facebook, Instagram and Voxer, later came forward and admitted uploading user data.
 
Larry's post expresses concern that given the sheer number of Apps that now exist (over 500,00 for the iPhone and 400,000 for the Droid), it is conceivable that a developer with less-than-pure intentions (other than, of course, simply harvesting the data of its users) could use the interface with the iPhone or Droid to do so. Larry expresses concern that a list of a user's contacts could confer some form of competitive advantage.
 
While there may be some legitimate concerns on the privacy front about these developments, I don't think companies have much to worry about on the trade secrets front. The vast majority of users would face, at worst, disclosure of their contact information, which would exist in a fairly rudimentary form (email addresses, phone numbers) and which in some instances would already be available to the public (Twitter, for example, generally lists a user's followers and the other users that he/she is following). Moreover, one would presume that a user would tread carefully with an App that he perceives competes with him or his employer; in fact, it would be tough to defend a trade secret claim where that information was shared with a competitor with no safeguards.
 
While it is possible, given the growing universe of Apps and the blurring of personal and professional lives on smartphones, that some form of trade secret could be uploaded or taken, it is tough for me to envision such a situation. And since contact information and customer lists are generally perceived as the red-headed stepchildren of the trade secret world, under these circumstances it would be tough to argue for any trade secret protection.

 

U.S. v. Jones: How Justice Sotomayor's Concurring Opinion May Impact Trade Secret Law and the Computer Fraud and Abuse Act

 
by John Marsh 6. February 2012 18:00

Late last month, the U.S. Supreme Court issued its long-awaited opinion in U.S. v. Jones, which held that affixing a GPS device to an individual's car and tracking his movements without a warrant constituted a violation of the Fourth Amendment. The opinion has not only been dissected by academics and criminal defense attorneys but also by a number of technology commentators. One of the better articles is entitled "A Supreme Court Justice's Radical Proposal Regarding The Privacy of Your Google Searches, Facebook Account & Phone Records," written by Kashmir Hill, a technology and social media columnist at Forbes. Hill's article analyzes Justice Sotomayor's concurring opinion, which has generated the most commentary. It is an important opinion, the type that just may resonate in other areas of the law, including trade secret law as well as the Computer Fraud and Abuse Act.

Let me explain. Justice Sotomayor asked whether the Supreme Court should revise its present notions of the reasonable expectation of privacy in the digital age. In so doing, she questioned the viability of the third party doctrine, a doctrine that holds that the sharing of information with a third party means that you have a diminished expectation of privacy, and less or no Fourth Amendment rights to complain if the government secures that same information. Here are the two paragraphs that stand out:

 "More fundamentally, it may be necessary to reconsider the premise that an individual has no reasonable expectation of privacy in information voluntarily disclosed to third parties. This approach is ill suited to the digital age, in which people reveal a great deal of information about themselves to third parties in the course of carrying out mundane tasks. People disclose the phone numbers that they dial or text to their cellular providers; the URLs that they visit and the e-mail addresses with which they correspond to their Internet service providers; and the books, groceries, and medications they purchase to online retailers. Perhaps, as JUSTICE ALITO notes, some people may find the 'tradeoff' of privacy for convenience 'worthwhile,' or come to accept this 'diminution of privacy' as 'inevitable,' and perhaps not.

I for one doubt that people would accept without complaint the warrantless disclosure to the Government of a list of every Web site they had visited in the last week, or month, or year. But whatever the societal expectations, they can attain constitutionally protected status only if our Fourth Amendment jurisprudence ceases to treat secrecy as a prerequisite for privacy. I would not assume that all information voluntarily disclosed to some member of the public for a limited purpose is, for that reason alone, disentitled to Fourth Amendment protection."

What is the impact of this concurring opinion on trade secret law? One of the most litigated issues in trade secret cases is whether a trade secret has been disclosed to a third party and under what circumstances. Some courts have applied a rigid test that disclosure of trade secrets, no matter what the circumstances, may result in the waiver of its trade secrecy. However, many courts have applied an analysis that parallels the one supplied by Justice Sotomayor -- one that recognizes that, given the reality of our digital age, there may be some disclosure that is necessitated by practical and economic considerations. For example, does a business waive its trade secrets if it stores them with a cloud provider? Do trade secrets lose their protection if an employee inadvertently discloses some of their elements on the Internet? Are trade secrets lost if some of them are shared with a customer to facilitate or close a sale? A court adopting Justice Sotomayor's view would likely say "no."

And the CFAA? This is where Justice Sotomayor's reasoning could have the greatest impact. I wrote last Fall about the possible fallout from U.S. v. Nosal, a Ninth Circuit case holding that violation of a company's Internet or computer usage policy could satisfy the access without authorization requirement for a claim under the CFAA. Professor Orin Kerr of George Washington and others had predicted that Nosal's reasoning could lead to the conclusion that a party's failure to follow the Terms and Conditions supplied by Facebook, LinkedIn or some other website could give rise to a claim under the CFAA. Sure enough, in September 2011, the Northern District of California found that a commercial party's failure to follow those terms could give rise to a claim under the CFAA in Facebook v. MaxBounty.

Which leads to the following question: When was the last time any of us actually took the time to read the "Terms of Service" that accompany a software download, to open an account with an Internet Service Provider, or that allow us to do our banking or pay for something on eBay? And if you did take the time to read them and declined them, what happened? I strongly suspect that the reality is most of us don't have much of a choice when it comes to accepting those terms, whatever they are, to perform those mundane but necessary tasks, unless of course you are content to live like Ted Kaczynski, holed up in a cabin in the woods of Montana.

It is in this respect, therefore, that Justice Sotomayor's reasoning could have the most impact. Her concurring opinion recognizes the practical realities of the digital age and more importantly, reflects the overwhelming expectation that the vast majority of us have when we access or share information over the Internet, over our mobile phones or through other electronic devices.

 

LinkedIn and Twitter: Who Owns the Account, the Employer or Employee?

 
by John Marsh 6. January 2012 10:00

LinkedIn, Twitter and other social media are in the news again. Three courts are now considering the question of who owns the social media accounts before them. While none of the cases, detailed below, have definitively resolved the ownership question, taken together, they do provide a road map to what a company should be doing to better protect itself. 
 
Let's start with the first of two decisions issued last Fall.  In Ardis Health, LLC v. Nankivell, Case No. 11 5013 (NRB) (Oct. 19, 2011, S.D.N.Y.), a former employee who was responsible for Ardis Health's social media and related websites refused to return the access information for those accounts. Relying on a Work Product Agreement that the employee signed, Ardis Health was able to secure a preliminary injunction compelling the return of the access information for those accounts. This decision was pretty straightforward as the employee had signed an agreement and there was no dispute over who owned the accounts.
 
In the second case, however, there is a genuine dispute over who owns the social media account. In PhoneDog v. Kravitz, Case No. 3:11-cv-03475 (MEJ) (N.D. Cal., Nov. 8, 2011), the employer, PhoneDog, brought an action against its former employee, Noah Kravitz, to recover the Twitter account "@PhoneDog_Noah", a substantial account with over 17,000 followers. Unlike Ardis Health, PhoneDog did not have an agreement or policy to establish ownership of the account (if it did, it was not raised or discussed in the opinion). 
 
The opinion in PhoneDog only addresses Kravitz's Motion to Dismiss, and therefore has limited value because it only found that PhoneDog presented cognizable claims. However, the district court did recognize that PhoneDog adequately presented claims for misappropriation of trade secrets (specifically, the password account) and conversion. (For a more thorough discussion of these two cases and links to the two opinions, see Russell Beck's fine post in the Fair Competition Blog). Frankly, from my vantage point, the trade secret claim appears to be pretty thin and if PhoneDog is going to prevail, it will have to be on the conversion claim.
 
The most recent decision, Eagle v. Morgan, Case No. 11-4303 (E.D. Pa., Dec. 22, 2011), involves a battle over who owns the plaintiff Dr. Linda Eagle's LinkedIn account. Dr. Eagle, who had built a business providing training for the financial services industry, sold her company, Edcomm, last year. In 2008, Dr. Eagle established an account with LinkedIn and she used her account to promote Edcomm's banking education services, build her own professional reputation, and build social and professional relationships. An employee of Edcomm helped her maintain her LinkedIn account and had access to her password. 
 
Last June, Dr. Eagle was terminated by the new owners of Edcomm, and she later discovered she could not access her LinkedIn account. When Edcomm refused to return the LinkedIn account, she filed a lawsuit claiming that she owned the account and that Edcomm was essentially misappropriating it. Of course, Edcomm and the new owners counterclaimed and alleged Edcomm owned the account. 
 
In support of Edcomm's claims, they alleged that Edcomm had policies that required employees to create and maintain LinkedIn accounts, that Dr. Eagle's account was used for Edcomm business, and that Edcomm employees assisted in developing her profile and maintaining her account. Notably, however, Edcomm did not identify an agreement or policy indicating that Edcomm owned the LinkedIn account.
 
When Dr. Eagle moved to dismiss the counterclaims, Edcomm withdrew its claim that the LinkedIn account was a trade secret (a wise decision) as well as its conversion claim (perhaps not so wise) and relied soley on a claim for misappropriation of an idea under Pennsylvania law. Based on the policies detailed above, the Eastern District of Pennsylvania concluded that Edcomm had presented a claim sufficient to survive dismissal at this early stage and that discovery would need to be conducted to determine who truly owned the account. (For further analysis, check out Eric Meyer's post on The Employer Handbook Blog and a copy of the opinion can be found here).
 
The takeaway? The importance of written agreements and policies establishing ownership. In Ardis Health, the employer was able to compel its former employee to turn over the access information for its social media accounts because there was a written agreement. 
 
In contrast, in PhoneDog and Eagle, while both employers survived motions to dismiss, both face uphill battles, in my view, in establishing that they own the accounts. This is because, in the absence of a clear written understanding between the employer and employee, a court will likely be heavily influenced by whatever the Twitter and LinkedIn User Agreements say. In the case of LinkedIn, for example, the account and agreement are almost certainly going to be with the individual.
 
This may not be a big deal for many companies who may decide that they are better served by having no agreements or policies on ownership because that will better promote and encourage individuals to network, to sell, and to build professional relationships unimpeded by a corporate policy. However, to the extent that employees are charged with overseeing the social media accounts for their employer, policies and agreements are critical as the Ardis Health case illustrates. Many small businesses rely heavily on their Facebook presence for their marketing, and it could be catastrophic if a disgruntled employee departs and refuses to provide the required access and account information or tries to modify or alter the Facebook site. 
 
At the end of the day, the culture and goals of the company should drive any policies or agreements, but it is important that the company at least considers the consequences if those agreements and policies are not created or implemented.
 

The Year in Review: The 10 Decisions That Shaped Trade Secret and Non-Compete Law in 2011 (Nos. 4 through 6)

 
by John Marsh 31. December 2011 14:00

Today's post features Nos. 4 through 6 of the Top Ten Trade Secret and Non-Compete Decisions of 2011. They are:

6. IBM v. Visentin (U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York and U.S. Court Appeals for the Second Circuit) and Aspect Software v. Barnett (U.S. District Court for Massachusetts)
These two cases presented the same issue -- to what extent should a non-compete be enforced when the new employer and former employee have put safeguards in place to protect the plaintiff's trade secrets and customer relationships. Both of these cases provide a fine example of what a company should do if it wants to hire an employee with a non-compete but minimize potential entanglements with the former employer (see my previous blog post on the Aspect Software case  where the former employee and new employer incorporated 8 steps to safeguard the plaintiff's interests).
 
However, taken together, these two cases also reinforce another feature of non-compete and trade secret cases -- their unpredictability.  In Visentin, the Southern District of New York (and later, the Second Circuit) found that the former employee and the new employer (HP) had acted reasonably to protect the business interests of the former employer (IBM) and that the non-compete should not be enforced to prevent the employee's new job with HP.  In contrast, in Aspect Software, although the district court commended the former employee and his new employer, Avaya, for "the scrupulous steps" they took to safeguard the plaintiff's trade secrets and customer relationships, it still enforced the non-compete because of concerns that the employee would inevitably use his former employer's trade secrets.  

As increased employee mobility and a poor economy continue into 2012, look for more cases like Visentin and Aspect Software.  Courts will be forced to balance the interests of all parties and still protect the legitimate interests of the former employer.  These cases may have a profound impact on the viability of the inevitable disclosure doctrine, the traditional counterweight to an employee's assurances about his or her good faith efforts to protect the former employer's trade secrets.

5. Mattel v. MGA (U.S. District Court for the Southern District of California, Los Angeles)
Will it ever end? 

When I first started putting this list together, I thought about using movie titles to highlight the key qualities of each case.  When it came to selecting a title for this bitter case, plenty came to mind -- "There Will Be Blood" and "Drag Me to Hell" certainly would have captured it nicely.  However, the most fitting title is probably "Reversal of Fortune" as this epic lawsuit, at least in its most recent round, has swung decisively in favor of MGA.

If you are reading this post, you are likely familiar with the history of this dispute which began in 2003, when Mattel first sued MGA for stealing the idea for the pouty-lipped Bratz Line through a former Mattel employee.  In 2008, Mattel won a $100 million jury verdict, only to see that judgment reversed by the Ninth Circuit.  Then, in April 2011, MGA prevailed during the second jury trial, not only persuading the jury to reject Mattel's claims but also to award MGA $83 million on its trade secret counterclaims.  That award swelled to $310 million when the district court imposed exemplary damages and attorneys fees in post-trial proceedings.
 
What will the next ruling bring?  No one really knows, as the trade secret version of Jarndyce and Jarndyce continues to work its way through California's federal courts.

4. U.S. v. Nosal (U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit)
The scope of the Computer Fraud and Abuse Act (CFAA) continues to beguile litigants and courts alike, and no CFAA case raised more eyebrows in 2011 than the Ninth Circuit's decision in U.S. v. Nosal, 642 F.3d 781 (9th Cir. Apr. 28, 2011). In Nosal, the Ninth Circuit held that the violation of a computer use policy that placed "clear and conspicuous restrictions on the employees’ access” to the employer’s computer system and the specific data at issue could be enough to qualify as conduct that exceeded authorized access, a necesssary element of a CFAA claim. 

Given this taffy-like definition of the critical "accessed without authorization" requirement, Nosal's holding has been applied broadly in other contexts. For example, in September, the Northern District of California applied Nosal's reasoning to online agreements in a civil dispute between commercial parties.  In Facebook v. MaxBounty, Case No. CV-10-4712-JF (N.D. Cal, Sept. 14, 2011), that district court found that a violation of Facebook's terms of use could qualify as access without authorization under the CFAA.
 
Nosal has generated more critical commentary than any other CFAA case in recent memory. While it was initially welcomed by many in the trade secret community because it would bolster employers' protections under the CFAA, libertarian groups such as the Electronic Frontier Foundation argued that Nosal could criminalize the very acts outlined above as violations of broadly written Terms of Service.
 
Perhaps as a result of this uproar, the Ninth Circuit indicated on October 27, 2011 that it would rehear Nosal en banc and advised district courts that Nosal was not to be used as precedent in the meantime.  Oral argument was heard on December 15, 2011 and even those reading the tea leaves left in the wake of that argument are having difficulty divining what the Ninth Circuit will do.

We will reveal our top three cases next week, so please stay tuned. In the meantime, have a safe and happy new year.

 

Advanced Equities v. Felix Investments: Protecting Trade Secrets Pending Arbitration

 
by John Marsh 8. July 2011 11:30

I have written previously on the challenges of protecting trade secrets in the context of arbitration. A case filed yesterday in New York Supreme Court by the venture capital firm Advanced Equities, Inc. (AEI) reinforces the necessity of getting injunctive relief from a court while an arbitration is pending and an arbitrator is being selected.
 
As Law360 is reporting, AEI sued its former employee, Jared Carmel, and his new employer, Felix Investments, LLC, alleging that Carmel and Felix are misappropriating its trade secrets, among other things.  Like many disputes in the financial services sector, AEI and Felix have a history, as Felix was formed by a former employee and officer, Frank Mazzola (who AEI has also joined as a defendant) and the firms have already been in litigation over Felix's claims that AEI has defamed it. AEI and Felix have been in the news lately, as they are apparently fierce competitors in a potentially lucrative market of securities: shares of Facebook and Twitter from employees interested in selling them in advance of any initial public offering.
 
While the allegations of the lawsuit are relatively straightforward (i.e., breach of fiduciary duty, theft of trade secrets, intentional interference of contract), what is noteworthy is the fact that AEI has already filed an arbitration proceeding against Carmel before the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (otherwise known as FINRA). Normally, a court might defer to that pending proceeding and stay any lawsuit filed afterward; however, given the delay that accompanies the appointment of an arbitrator, courts have found that it is appropriate for a party to request an injunction during this process to preserve its trade secrets. See Performance Unlimited, Inc. v. Questar Publishing, Inc., 52 F.3d  1373 (6th Cir. 1994).  
 
The takeaway?  Follow AEI's example and file for a TRO in court even though your trade secrets claim may be subject to an arbitration provision. While this approach is costly and potentially duplicative in some respects, the alternative is that your client's trade secrets may be lost during the inevitable delay that comes with the selection and approval of an arbitrator. The better solution, of course, is to draft your agreements to carve out trade secret and intellectual property disputes from any arbitration provision so that added expense and potential motion practice about the appropriate forum is eliminated. 
 

LinkedIn and Litigation: Social Media Continues to Transform Trade Secret Law

 
by John Marsh 1. July 2011 12:00

Many of us are still trying to get our minds around the transformative effect of social media sites on the workplace, on litigation and, for purposes of this post, the trade secret practice area.

 

Social media's impact has been both practical and substantive. On the practical side, when a a non-compete case comes through the door, one of the first things that I do is check to see if the potential defendant has a LinkedIn profile for background information. More often than not, my client has already scoped that profile out because the client remains "connected" to the former employee and can monitor, to some extent, the employee's contacts and connections. The Virginia Non-Compete Blog, whose clients are generally employees on the receiving end of non-compete disputes, has likened this curiosity to a form of "cyber-stalking," effectively using the analogy of a break-up and resulting matrimonial dispute to illustrate that point (it's a great example, as Facebook and other social media have become an evidentiary boon to the matrimonial bar). As a result, it counsels its clients to take a hiatus from social media sites to avoid potential disagreements during this period of high tension, which is good advice.

 

Substantively, LinkedIn continues to be a topic of discussion in the trade secret community. I wrote a post last month on the Sasqua Group decision out of the Eastern District of New York and its potential impact on the protection of customer lists. Another issue recently raised in the context of LinkedIn is who truly owns the connections information that is listed within LinkedIn's site. A case that was closely watched last year, TEKsystems, Inc. v. Hammernik, et al. (0:10-cv-00819-PJS-SRN) (D. Minn. 2010), addressed this issue -- namely, whether a defendant's use of LinkedIn was a violation of his non-solicitation agreements. 

 

In that case, TEKsystems accused one of the defendants of using LinkedIn to solicit TEKsystems’ contract employees and clients and identified approximately 20 TEKsystems contract employees that were solicited using LinkedIn. While that defendant admitted using LinkedIn to communicate with those individuals, he denied otherwise having communicated with them. He also argued that TEKsystems' and its employees' use of LinkedIn and Facebook for recruiting, promotional and other purposes voided any claim that any information posted on those sites was a trade secret or confidential.

 

No ruling was ever issued on the LinkedIn issues as the parties entered into a stipulated order enforcing the non-solicitation agreement and requiring the return of TEKsystems’ documents; however, the case generated tremendous interest as the first case to attempt to sort out these issues.

 

At the end of the day, the same fundamentals that apply to protecting trade secrets in other areas apply to the use of LinkedIn. First, to the extent that a company uses a non-solicitation or non-compete agreement, that agreement should specify that post-employment communications to customers made through an online social networking website including LinkedIn or Facebook constitute a violation of that agreement. This step will preserve the client's contractual remedy, whatever the trade secret status of the contact information.

 

Second, any employment or non-solicitation agreement should include a confidentiality provision that expressly defines confidential information to include client identities and contact information and that it is the property of the employer. That provision should unambiguously state that confidential information may not be used or disclosed for any purpose other than on behalf of the employer, including through the use of social media, and again, identifying LinkedIn. 

 

Finally, employers should develop, disseminate, and, if necessary, train employees on company policies addressing the use of social media. Through these policies, employers should make sure that their employees understand which information is considered confidential and what information constitutes a trade secret. This will require companies to be vigilant about their employees’ use of social media and that they monitor that use from time to time to ensure that employees are complying with their written agreements and the company’s policies. Many companies have already created social media officers who are responsible for ensuring the creation and implantation of these social media policies. In the absence of follow-through to ensure compliance, a court may deem that failure as proof that trade secrets do not exist or are not sufficiently important to warrant protection.

 

Social Media and Trade Secrets, Part I

 
by John Marsh 4. May 2011 21:18

The phenomena of social media and its near exponential growth has generated tremendous dialogue within the IP community about its impact. Facebook now has more than 640 million members, Twitter now has over 175 million users, and LinkedIn has more than 101 million users. Given these staggering numbers, and the inevitability that some users will eventually misuse or attempt to display confidential information or trade secrets of their employers, it makes sense to review the recent cases addressing trade secrets, as well as the steps a client can take to minimize that risk.

One of the first noteworthy cases comes from the Eastern District of New York and it illustrates the challenges that an employer may face when trying to protect a customer list in this new era.  In Sasqua Group, Inc. v. Courtney, 2010 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 93442 (E.D.N.Y. Aug. 2, 2010), affirmed, Sept. 7, 2010, the plaintiff, Sasqua, was a recruiting and search firm that built its niche in the area of executives for the financial services industry.  According to Sasqua, its founder, Christopher Tors, had worked for over 20 years as a precious metals and foreign currency trader for Goldman Sachs, AIG and UBS, and had used that experience to form Sasqua and compile a substantial client database. That client database included, among other things, client contact information, individual profiles, contact hiring preferences, employment backgrounds, descriptions of previous interactions with clients, and resumes. Tors claimed that he hired and trained his niece, Lori Courtney, as a recruiter for Sasqua. After Courtney left Sasqua to form a competing firm, Sasqua and Tors concluded that Courtney was using the contents of their client database, which they believed contained highly confidential information. 

Because Sasqua did not have a written non-competition or non-solicitation agreement with Courtney, they commenced an injunctive action for misappropriation of trade secrets. However, in a withering opinion rejecting that effort, the U.S. District Court Magistrate who presided over the injunction proceeding found that their customer database and the information contained within that database were not trade secrets. 

In particular, the Magistrate found it significant that Courtney was able to demonstrate in court how the information in Sasqua's database could be found through internet searches of websites such as FX Week, Google, Bloomberg.com, and LinkedIn. The Magistrate was impressed with Courtney’s testimony about “how such a search could be conducted on Linkedin, which [Courtney] described as being 'like Facebook but for business' and as being more searchable than Bloomberg 'because people put their whole profile on LinkedIn.'" (Sasqua Group, at p. 24). 

The Magistrate was not troubled by the fact that Courtney admitted she did not use the internet to get the information at issue and all but conceded that she had taken it from Sasqua. In holding that the information was not confidential information or a trade secret, the Magistrate noted how the internet had changed the business landscape:
 
"The information in Sasqua's database concerning the needs of its clients, their preferences, hiring practices, and business strategies, as well as Sasqua’s acquaintance with those decision-makers may well have been a protectable trade secret in the early years of Sasqua's existence when greater time, energy and resources may have been necessary to acquire the level of detailed information to build and retain the business relationships at issue here. However, for good or bad, the exponential proliferation of information made available through full-blown use of the Internet and the powerful tools it provides to access such information in 2010 is a very different story" (Sasqua Group, at p. 39). 

Three lessons can be drawn from the Sasqua Group decision. First, it is critical to have written non-competition, non-solicitation or confidentiality agreements with employees, contractors and vendors with whom confidential customer information may be shared.  Second, an employer needs to have agreements and policies that make clear that sensitive customer information gathered while an employee is the property of the employer and is to be protected. Such an acknowledgement would have necessarily bolstered Sasqua’s claim of proprietary information at the TRO and preliminary injunction stage. Third, an employer has to ensure that its confidential customer information does not find its way into social media websites. This means that that the employer must monitor its employees’ social media profiles, descriptions and blogs to ensure that they are complying with the employer’s policies and agreements.

About John Marsh

John Marsh Hahn Law AttorneyI’m a Columbus, Ohio-based attorney with a national legal practice in trade secret, non-compete, and emergency litigation. Thanks for visiting my blog. I invite you to join in the conversations here by leaving a comment or sending me an email at jmarsh@hahnlaw.com.

Disclaimer

The information in this blog is designed to make you aware of issues you might not have previously considered, but it should not be construed as legal advice, nor solely relied upon in making legal decisions. Statements made on this blog are solely those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of Hahn Loeser & Parks LLP. This blog material may be considered attorney advertising under certain rules of professional attorney conduct. Regardless, the hiring of a lawyer is an important decision that should not be based solely upon advertisements.

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