The Dark Side of Secrecy: What Theranos Can Teach Us About Trade Secrets, Regulation and Innovation

30 09 2019
James Pooley
IP Watchdog
Sept. 25, 2019
The spectacular failure of blood-testing firm Theranos is the subject of a riveting book, Bad Blood by investigative reporter John Carreyrou, and an engaging documentary, “The Inventor” on HBO, focusing on Elizabeth Holmes, the once-celebrated wunderkind who dropped out of Stanford at age 19 to “change the world” with a device that would perform hundreds of diagnostic tests with a few drops of blood from a finger stick. . . But even the Theranos story doesn’t mean that trade secret law is inherently dangerous. Consider Apple, one of the world’s most secretive companies. (Holmes famously modeled her clothing and business habits after Steve Jobs.) Apple has consistently used NDAs and secrecy management to protect products under development, to great effect when they are ultimately unveiled, all without touting non-existent technology. And it’s easy to imagine how Theranos might never have happened if investors and business partners had been less credulous and more insistent to understand the technology.
The content in this post was found at https://www.ipwatchdog.com/2019/09/25/dark-side-secrecy-theranos-can-teach-us-trade-secrets-regulation-innovation/id=113907/ Clicking the title link will take you to the source of the post. and was not authored by the moderators of freeforafee.com

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Nintendo Attempts To Bottle The Leak Genie With Copyright Strikes

12 07 2019

Timothy Geigner
Tech Dirt
Dec. 6, 2018

Well, as you may have heard, Nintendo suffered its own high-profile leak recently, with the forthcoming Super Smash Bros. Ultimate finding its way onto the internet before the game has even been released. As you would expect, Nintendo got its lawyers busy firing off DMCA notices for all kinds of sites that were hosting the actual game that leaked. It also, however, decided to issue copyright strikes on YouTubers who showed any of the games content.

The YouTuber named Crunchii has been uploading new remixes from Super Smash Bros. Ultimate to his channel over the past few days, which has drawn the ire of Nintendo. Crunchii’s channel has been hit with copyright strikes from Nintendo of America, which has caused him to be locked out of his account and will result in its termination over the next few weeks.

There is also a YouTuber named Dystifyzer, who also posted songs from Super Smash Bros. Ultimate’s soundtrack. He too has been hit with numerous copyright strikes from Nintendo and is expecting his YouTube channel to be gone by next week.

This is stupid on so, so many levels. First, combating leaks with copyright notices rarely works at all, never mind well. Once the bell has been rung on the internet, it’s nearly impossible to fully unring it. On top of that, going after YouTubers that are simply showing off the leaked product really only makes a ton of sense if you don’t have a ton of confidence in the quality of that product. If you believe the product is awesome, you should want it shown off, even prior to release. Hell, maybe especially just prior to release, as a way to hype the game even further and push more sales.

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The content in this post was found at https://www.techdirt.com/articles/20181128/10221041122/nintendo-attempts-to-bottle-leak-genie-with-copyright-strikes.shtml Clicking the title link will take you to the source of the post. and was not authored by the moderators of freeforafee.com

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Secrets of Social Media: Who owns social media accounts?

11 07 2019

James Pooley
IP Watchdog
November 12, 2018

Andy Bitter, a former sports journalist covering the travails and triumphs of the Virginia Tech football team, was sued last month by his former employer, a local newspaper, for trade secret theft. According to the plaintiff Roanoke Times he was obligated by the company’s employee handbook to turn over all company property, and this necessarily included the Twitter account he had used to stay in touch with his 17,000+ followers… In spite of the mess it created, the Roanoke Times has reminded us of some important questions for industry in the information age. Who owns social media accounts? What role do they play in building competitive advantage? And how should companies manage their use?

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The content in this post was found at https://www.ipwatchdog.com/2018/11/12/secrets-social-media-accounts/id=103135/ Clicking the title link will take you to the source of the post. and was not authored by the moderators of freeforafee.com

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Whistleblower Wants to Blow Off NDA

10 10 2018

 

Dear Rich: An IP property blog

Oct 9, 2018

Dear Rich: Does an NDA (nondisclosure agreement) prevent me from reporting illegal activity at work?
A whistleblower — an employee who has a reasonable belief that an employer is violating the law and who reports the violation — is often protected from retaliation by a patchwork of whistleblower laws. . .

For all these reasons, and because of the risks involved in whistleblowing, an attorney’s advice is essential.

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The content in this post was found at https://dearrichblog.blogspot.com/2018/10/whistleblower-wants-to-blow-off-nda.html Clicking the title link will take you to the source of the post. and was not authored by the moderators of freeforafee.com

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And Then There Was One…Massachusetts Adopts Uniform Trade Secrets Act

17 08 2018
Lex Blog
AUGUST 14, 2018
Almost every state in the nation has adopted some version of the Uniform Trade Secrets Act (UTSA). For many years, the two biggest holdouts had been Massachusetts and New York, which both stubbornly clung to a mélange of common law principles to protect trade secrets.
As of Friday, August 10, Massachusetts joined the UTSA club by adopting its own version of the UTSA. However, that adoption was part of a larger effort to regulate employment non-competes…
The content in this post was found at https://www.lexblog.com/2018/08/14/and-then-there-was-one-massachusetts-adopts-uniform-trade-secrets-act/ Clicking the title link will take you to the source of the post. and was not authored by the moderators of freeforafee.com

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Theft of Jawbone Trade Secrets: Individuals Facing Criminal Charges After a Finding of No Civil Liability

7 08 2018

Trade Secret Trends

Siri RaoJune 25, 2018

On June 14, 2018, six former and current Fitbit employees were indicted in the Northern District of California for alleged federal trade secrets offenses. The individuals are accused of either stealing market research regarding fitness tracker opportunities from Jawbone, or stealing internal studies – including a comparison study of consumer behavior in which consumers wore both Jawbone and Fitbit devices. The employees are charged with felony Possession of Stolen Trade Secrets (18 USC §1832(a)(3)), for which the maximum sentence is 10 years in prison.

This indictment is interesting because in 2015 Jawbone sued Fitbit, including these same individuals, for “systematically plundering” trade secrets, including over 300,000 confidential files. After a nine-day trial, the International Trade Commission (ITC) ruled in favor of Fitbit and the individuals. The federal administrative law judge determined on the merits that no Jawbone trade secrets were misappropriated or used in any Fitbit product. Nevertheless, U.S. federal prosecutors decided to move forward with a criminal prosecution.

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The content in this post was found at https://www.crowelltradesecretstrends.com/2018/06/theft-of-jawbone-trade-secrets-individuals-facing-criminal-charges-after-a-finding-of-no-civil-liability/ Clicking the title link will take you to the source of the post. and was not authored by the moderators of freeforafee.com

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Everything (including Trade Secrets Damages Awards) is bigger in Texas

26 07 2018

Trade Secrets Trends
Matthew Gander
June 29, 2018

On March 15, 2018, HouseCanary, a data-analytics startup, was awarded $706 million in damages by a jury in Texas in its lawsuit against Title Source, an affiliate of Quicken Loans. The jury found Title Source misappropriated trade secrets including HouseCanary’s technology and appraisal analytics and breached both confidentiality and other agreements between the parties. While Title Source engineers were building the automated valuation model (“AVM”), HouseCanary alleged they helped themselves to other intellectual property, algorithms, analytics, and proprietary data without paying for it. In fact, an email from a Title Source employee encouraged colleagues to “think big and wide about how to maximize the value of the HouseCanary data to our business.” The jury found that a combination of lost profits and the benefit that Title Source obtained from the trade secrets misappropriation warranted $235 million in damages but tripled the damages due to a finding of deliberate conduct resulting in a final damages award to over $700 million. A big number indeed.

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The content in this post was found at https://www.crowelltradesecretstrends.com/2018/06/everything-including-trade-secrets-damages-awards-is-bigger-in-texas/ Clicking the title link will take you to the source of the post. and was not authored by the moderators of freeforafee.com.

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Whistleblower or Trade Secret Thief?

25 07 2018

Trade Secret Trends

In June 2018, Tesla brought suit against a disgruntled former employee, Martin Tripp, for trade secret misappropriation. Tesla claims that Mr. Tripp hacked Tesla’s computer system, distributed its proprietary and confidential data to third parties, and distributed photographs and videos of Tesla’s manufacturing facility. In its complaint filed in a U.S. District Court in Nevada, Tesla asserts federal and state trade secret misappropriation, breach of contract, and violations of the Nevada Computer Crimes Law claims against Mr. Tripp. Tesla’s complaint does not identify the specific trade secrets Mr. Tripp is alleged to have disclosed, but alleges that Tesla maintains various methods, systems, and processes as trade secrets and that Mr. Tripp’s conduct revealed unspecified “manufacturing systems.”

Mr. Tripp, on the other hand, tells a different story. Perhaps positioning himself to assert whistleblower immunity under the DTSA, Mr. Tripp claims he shared information with news outlets to expose “some really scary things” going on inside of Tesla after becoming disillusioned with the company’s practices.

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The content in this post was found at https://www.crowelltradesecretstrends.com/2018/07/whistleblower-or-trade-secret-thief/ Clicking the title link will take you to the source of the post. and was not authored by the moderators of freeforafee.com.

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The Coming Border Wars: U.S. Court Decision Refusing to Enforce Canadian Court Order Highlights the Growing Balkanization of the Internet

22 03 2018

Social Aware blog: law and business of social media

on March 20, 2018

Does a search engine operator have to delist websites hosting, without authorization, your trade secret materials or other intellectual property? The answer may depend on where you sue—just ask Google. The U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California recently handed the company a victory over plaintiff Equustek Solutions Inc. in what has turned into an international battle where physical borders can have very real consequences on the Internet.

The dispute began when a rival company, Datalink, allegedly misappropriated Equustek’s trade secrets in developing competing products. Equustek also alleged that Datalink misled customers who thought they were buying Equustek products. In 2012, Equustek obtained numerous court orders in Canada against Datalink. Datalink refused to comply, and Canadian court issued an arrest warrant for the primary defendant, who has yet to be apprehended.

In September 2012, Equustek asked Google to delist search results for Datalink; Google declined this request. Equustek then sought a court order against Google in Canada and prevailed, resulting in Google removing 300 Datalink websites from search results generated by the Canadian version of its site, located at www.google.ca. Google, however, did not take similar steps with respect to U.S. and other non-Canadian versions of its site, so the Datalink websites continued to appear in search results conducted by users outside of Canada.

Equustek returned to the Canadian court, this time to seek an order compelling Google to remove the Datalink-related search results globally so that Datalink results would not appear for any Google users, regardless of their location. Equustek once again prevailed, and Google appealed to the Court of Appeal for British Columbia. That court, and later the Supreme Court of Canada, affirmed the trial court’s order.

Google then brought the battle to the United States; in July 2017, it commenced an action in the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California seeking a declaratory judgment that the Canadian court order cannot be enforced in the United States and an injunction against the enforcement of such order. (Equustek did not submit an opposition brief.)

In support of its preliminary injunction motion, Google’s primary arguments were that the Canadian order (1) ignores the Communication Decency Act’s immunity for interactive service providers (2) directly conflicts with the First Amendment and (3) violates principles of international comity.

 

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The content in this post was found at https://www.sociallyawareblog.com/2018/03/20/the-coming-border-wars-u-s-court-decision-refusing-to-enforce-canadian-court-order-highlights-the-growing-balkanization-of-the-internet/

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Diversity is Important – But Is It A Trade Secret?

7 03 2018

Trade Secret Trends

Mark Romeo and Helen Osun on March 5, 2018

On January 14, 2018, IBM’s Chief Diversity Officer resigned to go work for Microsoft in the same role. The caveat: she had a twelve month non-compete clause.

On February 12, 2018, IBM filed a lawsuit to enjoin its former diversity officer to honor her non-compete agreement with IBM and to recover damages. The suit, filed in Southern District New York court, alleges that the IBM non-compete agreement that the defendant signed has a New York federal and state choice of forum provision and is, therefore, enforceable. In addition to a breach of the non-compete agreement, IBM asserts a claim for misappropriation of its trade secrets. According to IBM, if its former diversity officer “is permitted to work for Microsoft, [she] will inevitably (if inadvertently) use and/or disclose IBM trade secrets for her own benefit and for the benefit of Microsoft.” In addition to injunctive relief (seeking an order requiring its former employee to honor the non-compete agreement), IBM is also seeking compensatory damages. It has also demanded that its former employee remit to them her equity compensation because of this alleged breach of her employment agreement. As to the demand that the employee return the equity compensation she had earned as an employee, IBM’s theory is that the employee is engaging directly in a business which is competitive with IBM. Furthermore, IBM asserts that this is considered a “detrimental activity” under the Long Term Performance Plan agreement in which the employee’s equity awards are governed by and, subject to cancellation and in certain circumstances like this, are subject to repayment.

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The content in this post was found at https://www.crowelltradesecretstrends.com/2018/03/diversity-is-important-but-is-it-a-trade-secret/
Clicking the title link will take you to the source of the post. and was not authored by the moderators of freeforafee.com.

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