Moore & Van Allen Law Firm, Attorneys

Trade Secrets Litigation

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Our trade secret litigation attorneys help companies protect what is theirs – proprietary information deriving value at least in part from its confidentiality, but which is not protected by formal registrations or filings.  We have helped numerous clients in preventing, containing, and obtaining redress for misappropriation of many types of trade secrets, from business plans to customer lists, manufacturing formulas to computer code.  We have also successfully defended clients against claims of trade secret misappropriation. Our multifaceted experience in trade secrets law and the strength of our litigation resources help us position our clients to succeed. We recognize the importance of identifying and defining the trade secrets at issue. Relying on subject matter and damages experts, we help our clients put their best case forward regarding their right to recovery and their damages.

Efficient and Cost-Effective

Trade secrets litigation often requires a significant level of commitment, and we consistently strive to provide our clients with well-defined analysis of the risks and rewards.  When feasible, we protect our clients’ trade secrets through demand letters and negotiation.  However, if additional action is necessary and the client decides to proceed, we move rapidly and decisively to seek a favorable outcome. Speed is often critical in such matters and we have not only the legal experience, but also the practical experience and resources to act quickly.  Depending upon the circumstances of each case, we regularly draw on lawyers from our labor and employment, commercial litigation, and other intellectual property litigation teams to staff these matters appropriately.  With deep experience on both sides of misappropriation claims, our lawyers are adept at sensible case assessment and prompt action in both state and federal courts.

Unfair Competition and Deceptive Trade Practices

In various states, including North Carolina and South Carolina, unfair methods of competition and unfair and deceptive acts in or affecting commerce are prohibited by statute.  These laws create private causes of action and have resulted in a proliferation of civil claims, often in the context of trade secrets litigation.  Such claims can be problematic to defend due to their subjective nature, and the statutes typically carry the threat of treble or punitive damages and awards of attorneys’ fees.  Having an experienced team well-versed in the nuances of defending these claims is critically important to a good result.  Working closely with our clients, we have succeeded in narrowing the scope of such cases through motions, targeted discovery, and other practices.  If the case reaches a jury, we havehighly skilled trial lawyers who are able to present the evidence effectively.  Finally, we are skilled at deploying resources, reliable methods, and expert witnesses to address damages issues.

A Broad Range of Experience

We have successfully handled matters involving:

  • Misappropriation by former employees
  • Industrial and commercial espionage
  • Breach of fiduciary duty
  • Fraud and tortious interference
  • Information protection programs
  • Employee solicitation and raiding
  • Negotiating agreements to protect information

Representative Engagements Include:

  • Prevailed in federal jury trial against corporate competitor and former employee for misappropriation of trade secrets, violation of state unfair and deceptive trade practices act, breach of noncompete agreement.  Also secured directed verdict on Lanham Act counterclaims.
  • Obtained appellate reversal of trial court judgment denying employer's claim of violation of Uniform Trade Secret Act, breach of fiduciary duty, and conversion for employee's misappropriation of company data.  Expanded scope of employee fiduciary duty under Section 396 of the Restatement Second of Agency and established authority on the issue of trade secret ownership.
  • Summary judgment granted for client on breach of fiduciary duty, fraud, and trade secrets claim arising in bankruptcy adversary proceedings with claims in excess of $45 million.
  • Represented public steel company as co-counsel in connection with theft of trade secrets and unfair competition and trade practices claims.
  • Represented a prominent national information technology staffing company in cases throughout North Carolina and others states, asserting or defending against claims relating to covenants not to compete and misappropriation of trade secrets.
  • Represented a regional electrical contracting company defending against a lawsuit for employee raiding and misappropriation of trade secrets. Following aggressive expedited discovery and deposition of key plaintiff witness, achieved a “walk-away” dismissal of suit without any payment of damages or injunction restricting the client’s business.
  • Represented a national insurance brokerage company in prosecuting employee raiding and misappropriation of trade secrets claims against departing executives and a competing insurance brokerage business. Discovery included extensive electronic discovery issues and use of forensic analysis.

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