Non-Compete & Trade Secrets

Protecting trade secrets and using non-compete agreements to guard corporate assets are often interrelated. Our nationwide, cross-practice team is well-equipped to help you safeguard your valued employees, innovative products and key customer and vendor relationships.

Our Approach

Our team of labor and employment, commercial, data privacy and IP attorneys understand that trade secrets and proprietary information are more than “IP issues” or “employment matters.” Our experience extends across industries, including entertainment and fashion, financial services, life sciences, manufacturing, medical devices and technology. We know the law, including states’ varied approaches to enforcement of confidentiality, non-compete and non-solicit agreements, the Defend Trade Secrets Act, the Uniform Trade Secrets Act and the Computer Fraud and Abuse Act.

Non-Compete and Related Litigation

Whether confronted with losing an executive, the “lift out” of a group of employees, or threatened with a lawsuit involving hiring decisions, our clients trust us to mobilize quickly to address their needs. The complexity of non-compete litigation is enhanced as companies face statutes and common laws across multiple states. Our litigators have extensive experience aggressively prosecuting and defending claims in fast-moving, high-stakes situations. We have success obtaining relief for clients who are victims of unfair competition as well as defending against claims involving alleged non-compete violations. Our trial-tested attorneys handle non-compete cases throughout the U.S., often in expedited TRO and preliminary injunction hearings. We also regularly advise on the development of enforceable non-compete agreements, as well as customized onboarding and offboarding products and audit procedures.

Trade Secrets

Trade secrets provide businesses a powerful advantage and are no longer exclusively located in a vault or on a balance sheet—but in the cloud, on remote hard drives and international servers and often in employees’ heads. Today’s increased employee mobility and groundbreaking technologies have made stealing trade secrets and proprietary information easier. The spike of electronic espionage and cybertheft has left companies increasingly concerned about how to retain employees and protect trade secrets and confidential information. We provide creative solutions companies need to safeguard against trade secret misappropriation, restrictive covenant violations and other claims in order to protect their bottom line and ability to grow business and secure financing.

Our Experience

  • Represent CVS Caremark, a retail and health care company, in a non-compete dispute involving a former executive who joined Amazon’s mail-order drug unit. We successfully secured a preliminary injunction blocking the former executive from working for Amazon’s Pillpack. CVS Pharmacy Inc. v. John Lavin (D.R.I.).
  • Defended VeriFone, which provides technology for electronic payment transactions and value-added services at the point-of-sale, in an action alleging misappropriation of trade secrets involving pay-at-table software solutions for real-time communication via Wi-Fi networks for credit card terminals and point-of-sale systems. The case settled. Communication Transaction Solutions, Inc. v. VeriFone Holdings, Inc., VeriFone, Inc., et al. (Superior Court of California, Santa Clara).
  • Represent Newmark Group, a global commercial real estate brokerage company, in several cases before federal and state courts throughout the United States involving, among other things, the alleged theft and misuse of trade secret and confidential information by former employees, who have been hired by a competitor, for the use and benefit of the new employer.
  • Defended W.B. Mason and its employees in numerous federal lawsuits filed by one of the largest suppliers of office products and services alleging breach of non-compete agreements and misappropriation of trade secret and confidential information. Office Depot, Inc. et al. v. W. B. Mason Co., Inc., (S.D. Fla.); Office Depot, Inc. et al. v. Stephen Arnold, (S.D. Fla.); Office Depot, Inc. v. Pelletier, (S.D. Fla.); Office Depot, Inc. et al. v. Brent Roberts, (S.D.N.Y.).
  • Defended United Displaycraft, which manufactures in-store display racks, store fixtures and custom merchandising solutions, and RedStitch, a designer of in-store advertising displays, against allegations of trade secret misappropriation and breaches of restrictive covenants. We helped defeat the plaintiff’s request for preliminary injunction, which would have essentially shut down RedStitch’s business, by showing the plaintiff’s employment agreements were likely unenforceable and there were no protectable trade secrets at issue. (The Carlson Group, Inc. v. RedStitch, LLC and United Displaycraft, Inc. (N.D. Ill.))
  • Represent Pliancy, which provides end to end IT solutions and support to capital management and life sciences companies, in a non-compete dispute involving a former employee who was hired by Pliancy for Coretelligent, a direct competitor. We successfully defeated motion for preliminary injunction seeking to prohibit Murphy from working for Pliancy. Coretelligent LLC vs. John Murphy and Technology Strategy Group a/k/a Pliancy (Massachusetts Superior Court, Suffolk, BLS)
  • Obtained a judgment on the pleadings that an employee’s restrictive covenant was unenforceable in its entirety. Chapman v. ImpactOffice LLC, (D. Md.).
  • Represented a company that creates artificial intelligence software for trading, compliance, surveillance and banking in a trade secrets and restrictive covenant dispute with its Chief Operating Officer, who left the company to start a competing business using the client’s technology. The matter was resolved pre-litigation.
  • Advised a provider of innovative hearing care solutions in connection with a potential claim for trade secret misappropriation and violation of restrictive covenants. The matter was resolved pre-litigation.
  • Defended one of the country’s largest loan originators involving his departure in an aggressively litigated case that generated significant media coverage. The case settled. (Cook County, IL).

Noncompete covenant gets quick exit; pact termed unenforceable

Chicago Daily Law Bulletin | August 07, 2019

Chicago Complex Commercial Disputes associate Laura Bacon authored this article about the Illinois Appellate Courts affirming the dismissal of an employer's suit to enforce post-employment restrictive covenants. This sends a strong message to Illinois employers on the unenforceability of overly broad geographic and activity restrictions.


Bloomberg BayState Business | September 25, 2018

Labor & Employment partner Jeff Gilbreth and Complex Commercial Disputes partner Matt McLaughlin, both of the Boston office, joined Bloomberg Radio to discuss the new Massachusetts law restricting the use of noncompete clauses by businesses.

Senate approves limits on ‘noncompete’ clauses

The Boston Globe | July 25, 2018

Boston Complex Commercial Disputes partner Matt McLaughlin is quoted in this article for his view on the “garden leave” provision in the Massachusetts Legislature’s proposed bill restricting noncompete clauses.

California court denies employer’s request to unmask author of anonymous post

SHRM | March 27, 2017

Providence commercial litigation counsel Steve Richard contributed this article about a company’s efforts to remove a former employee’s anonymous online post which the company believed revealed company trade secrets.

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