The evolving law of trade secrets is our focus. We assert and defend claims on behalf of all interested parties. Both employers and employees retain us. We advise, negotiate, litigate, mediate, and arbitrate in all forums.
We find the field of trade secrets law especially gratifying, because so often our new clients believe they know what the law is, but in fact have mistaken notions, and can obtain concrete benefits from pre-dispute counseling. Corporate employers sometimes believe that their broad and general confidentiality provisions are more effective than they are. Other corporate employers believe that they have trade secret rights to their employees’ general knowledge of customer relationships rather than to clearly delineated trade secret documents. Corporations with out of state offices often are unclear about California’s law governing covenants not to compete. Virtually all departing employees believe that they have ownership rights to customers with whom they have dealt. Others think customer lists belong to them. Depending upon the circumstances, these new clients may be right – or wrong.
Counseling our clients on where the law appears to be (it is not always clear) and where it appears to be going, allows for a more sophisticated analyses of the risks faced by particular courses of action. This risk assessment leads to fewer surprises and increased client satisfaction.
We represent employers against departing employees and, if appropriate, their new employers, when the departing employees have misappropriated trade secrets or violated confidentiality agreements. We help employers obtain injunctions and specialized relief under the Uniform Trade Secrets Act, (when appropriate) the Penal Code, and other law. We defend employees and their new employers against such claims.
We represent executives vis-à-vis former employers or prospective employers in construing or, if necessary, litigating covenants not to compete, confidentiality agreements, and non-disclosure agreements. We represent employers in enforcing such covenants.
When a start-up company is planned, prospective founders and investors consult with us in order to analyze and lessen the risks of adverse claims arising under trade secrets law. We draft confidentiality agreements and covenants with new employees against bringing with them trade secrets of prior employers. We advise start-ups regarding the establishment of measures of maintaining confidentiality, a prerequisite to asserting ownership of trade secrets.
Large firms recommend us to represent their clients in matters in which the firms have conflicts of interest. General practice firms refer clients with trade secrets issues to us. We act as consultants to other lawyers about trade secrets law.