Trade Secrets

Our Intellectual Property + Technology lawyers understand that for businesses to secure or maintain a competitive business advantage, their trade secrets must remain confidential. Trade secrets can involve key financial, technical, client, or business information, whether it is a new confidential manufacturing process, a secret formula, a restaurant chain’s recipe for a signature dessert, or computer technology. Like patents, trade secrets are property, and can be licensed or transferred. Proprietary information can be exposed by former employees, third parties given access, corporate espionage, or following the dissolution of a venture. Thieves also can target companies’ critical information through computer hacking. We advise on the establishment of trade secret programs and non-disclosure agreements, and counsel clients on how best to protect their trade secrets. For victims of trade secret theft, we pursue restraining orders, injunctions, and when needed, litigation to protect information and enforce their rights in court, securing relief or damages. We also defend employees who have been accused of misappropriating trade secrets. Our lawyers have extensive knowledge of all relevant civil and criminal laws, including the Uniform Trade Secrets Act, Economic Espionage Act, and the Computer Fraud and Abuse Act.

    • Experience
      • Trade Secret Misappropriation

      • Defense of former employee in lawsuit alleging misappropriation of trade secrets and breach of noncompetition agreement. Plaintiff dismissed claims on eve of trial.

      • Obtained preliminary injunction precluding former employee from competing with our client and using our client's trade secrets.

      • Represented defendant employer in a frequently-cited noncompetition case. Successfully shielded our client from repeated motions seeking to prevent defendant from working for our client.

      • Obtained a favorable settlement on behalf of a management consulting and research company in a trade secret misappropriation action brought against former employees who left to start a competing business.
      • Obtained a favorable settlement on behalf of a provider of financial data and analytics in an action brought to enforce the confidentiality provisions in a stock option agreement and clawback monies realized from the exercise of such options after an employee left to join a competitor.
      • Obtained a settlement in a trade secret misappropriation case brought by the successful bidder for intellectual property sold at a bankruptcy auction against the buyer of the debtor’s assets at said auction.
      • Prosecution of an action on behalf of a digital media company against an ex-employee accused of violating a noncompete and confidentiality agreement.
      • Representation of client in a fraud, trade secret misappropriation, and breach of contract case in federal court that involved parallel processing computer technology used for speech recognition applications.

      • Other Experiences

      • Represented client after its exclusive sales representative went to work for its main competitor. Suit brought based on, inter alia, a covenant not to compete, the misappropriation of trade secrets and confidential information, and interference with contractual and advantageous relations. Obtained a preliminary injunction and settled the case.
    • News
      • November 1, 2013

        Robinson & Cole Receives 34 First-Tier Metropolitan Rankings and Three National Rankings in U.S. News – Best Lawyers Survey

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      • October 21, 2013

        Super Lawyers® Names 61 Robinson & Cole Attorneys to 2013 List

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      • August 16, 2013

        Robinson & Cole Receives Top Listing in Connecticut Attorney Count in Best Lawyers National Peer Review Survey

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      • June 22, 2010

        William J. Kelleher III Receives “40 Under 40” Award

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      • May 19, 2010

        Robinson & Cole Attorney Presents to Massachusetts Association of Personnel Services on Proposed Noncompetition Agreement Act

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      • May 10, 2010

        Robinson & Cole Attorney Quoted on Massachusetts Bill Aimed to Change State's Noncompete Landscape

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      • April 6, 2010

        Robinson & Cole Attorney Lectures on Noncompetition Agreements at Massachusetts Institute of Technology’s Sloan School of Management

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      • March 2, 2010

        Robinson & Cole Attorney Publishes Articles on Trade Secrets Audits and Assignability of Noncompetition Agreements

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      • January 4, 2010

        Robinson & Cole Partner Quoted on International Agreement to Bolster Intellectual Property Enforcement

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    • Publications + Presentations
    • "Federal Circuit Extends Patent Term in Certain Cases" (02/18/2014)

      "Patent Reform Becomes Law: Highlights of the Leahy-Smith America Invents Act," published in Connecticut Lawyer, co-authored by Nuala E. Droney and Andrea Donovan Napp (October/November 2012)

      "Drawing the Line Between Descriptive and Suggestive Trademarks," published in Commercial & Business Litigation, co-authored by Edward J. Heath and John M. Tanski, a newsletter of the American Bar Association's Section of Litigation (Fall 2010)

      "Can You Keep a Secret? Why Now Is the Time for a Trade Secrets Audit," published in Connections: Cambridge Chamber of Commerce Newsletter (2/2010)

      "States divided over asset purchases and non-competes," published in New England In-House, more details (1/2010)

      "The Computer Fraud and Abuse Act: An Overview and Discussion of a Recent First Circuit Case," at Boston Bar Assocation (3/11/2008)

      "Is an Employer Liable When Its Sales Employee Breaches a Noncompetition or Nonsolicitation Agreement with a Former Employer?" published in Massachusetts Continuing Legal Education (2007)

Our Team