A Bibliography About Federal Trade Secret Law Reform (Guest Blog Post)

28 06 2015

Eric’s introduction: patent and copyright reform get a lot of attention, and they have overshadowed proposals to create a new federal trade secret civil cause of action that have been floating around in Congress for a few years. I’ve previously called the federal trade secret initiative “the most significant IP policy proposal you aren’t paying attention to.”

These proposals are favored by a small number of trade secret owners and ignored by virtually everyone else, even though a new federal trade secret law would be a dramatic change in US intellectual property law and have potentially radical implications for the Silicon Valley. Unless a coordinated opposition emerges, these proposals are destined to pass eventually. Fortunately, last year, Profs. David Levine (Elon) and Sharon Sandeen (Hamline) sent a letter to Congress on behalf of many law professors opposing the latest proposal. That letter–perhaps the first real opposition that Congress heard–successfully slowed the trade secret bill down a bit, just long enough to keep it from passing that session. The current Congressional session is preoccupied with patent reform and maybe copyright reform, so we haven’t heard much about a resurrected trade secret bill. Nevertheless, the bills will be coming back, and they will remain inevitable unless they face opposition.

Thus, I asked David Levine if he could prepare a bibliography of the literature opposing a federal trade secret law. My main goal was to get all of the opposition material into a single document, so that we could realize just how many smart people are opposed–and perhaps coordinate our efforts better. Many thanks to David for doing this.

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by David S. Levine

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Another Competitive Keyword Advertising Lawsuit Fails–Infogroup v. DatabaseLLC

28 06 2015

The plaintiffs run several well-known databases, such as infoUSA and Salesgenie. The defendants are former employees of plaintiffs who split off and launched a competitive rival. The plaintiffs are upset that the defendants’ databases contain fake listings created by the plaintiffs, despite the marketing claim that the defendants’ databases are “verified.” The plaintiffs are also upset about what they perceive as various marketing overclaims that relate to the companies’ common history.

Defendants bought plaintiffs’ trademarks as AdWords. Like most recent cases, the trademark claims go nowhere (some cites omitted):There are several other interesting nuggets in this opinion:

* the plaintiffs claimed the fictional listings showing up in the defendants’ databases provided evidence of trade secret misappropriation. But web scraping can’t be trade secret misappropriation when it involves publicly accessible data because, by definition, that data can’t be a trade secret any more. The court concludes: “to the extent that Infogroup’s motion is focused on “webscraping,” such conduct is not unlawful under Nebraska [trade secret] law.” I just did a more complete update on scraping law.

 

Case citation: Infogroup, Inc. v. DatabaseLLC, 2015 WL 1499066 (D. Neb. Mar. 30, 2015)
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Some Related Posts on Keyword Advertising:

 

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Former Goldman Sachs programmer convicted of stealing code in second trial

25 06 2015

A former Goldman Sachs programmer—featured in the book Flash Boyswas convicted on Friday for stealing high-speed trading code from the bank.

Sergey Aleynikov, 45, was also acquitted on one count of unlawful duplication, according to Reuters. The New York state jury could not come to a verdict on another count of unlawful use of secret scientific material.

This was the second trial for Aleynikov in five years. He could face up to four years in prison.

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The content in this post was found at http://arstechnica.com/tech-policy/2015/05/former-goldman-sachs-programmer-convicted-of-stealing-code-in-second-trial/ and was not authored by the moderators of freeforafee.com. Clicking the title link will take you to the source of the post.



Court, Applying Pennsylvania And California Law, Declines To Enjoin Alleged Violation Of Worldwide Non-Compete

25 06 2015

A non-competition covenant prohibited employees of Adhesives Research (AR), a company based in Pennsylvania, from performing services for a competitor of AR anywhere in the world for two years after termination. Newsom, AR’s western U.S. manager of medical products, worked out of her home in California. When she quit and joined another adhesives manufacturer, AR sued and moved for entry of a preliminary injunction. The court denied the motion.

Status of the case. The covenant contained a Pennsylvania choice of law provision and mandated that litigation be filed in that state. Responding to the motion, Newsom argued that Pennsylvania law was inapplicable and asserted that California law applied. It is less friendly to employers. The court concluded that the worldwide geographic scope was overbroad under both states’ legal principles, that blue penciling was impermissible because of AR’s unclean hands in attempting to enforce an oppressive covenant, and that in any event the new employer did not compete with AR. Adhesives Research, Inc. v. Newsom, Civ. No. 1:15-CV-0326 (M.D. Pa., Apr. 13, 2015) (Caldwell, J.).

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Oculus and founder sued by Hawaiian head-mounted display startup

22 06 2015

A Hawaii-based company called Total Recall Technologies (TRT) is suing Facebook-owned Oculus Rift and its founder Palmer Luckey, saying that Luckey used confidential information he learned from the company in 2011 to build his own head-mounted display.

In a complaint filed in the Northern California US District Court (PDF), TRT says that its two partners, Ron Igra and Thomas Seidl, developed and patented a method to take video of a real-world scene and display it in a head-mounted display using an “ultra-wide field of view.” Seidl met Luckey in 2010 in connection with his work on developing head-mounted displays, and contacted him in 2011 to build a prototype for TRT.

“At all relevant times, the information provided to Luckey by TRT was confidential, and TRT expected the information to remain confidential,” the complaint says.

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The content in this post was found at hhttp://arstechnica.com/tech-policy/2015/05/oculus-and-founder-sued-by-hawaiian-head-mounted-display-startup/and was not authored by the moderators of freeforafee.com. Clicking the title link will take you to the source of the post.