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As we’ve discussed here before, there is tension and confusion at the intersection of trade secrets law and public contracting/public disclosure law. Contractors dealing with public entities need to be especially alert to the danger of their confidential and trade secret information entering the public domain. That danger was illustrated again by a recent case out of Massachusetts. Although Massachusetts recently adopted the Uniform Trade Secrets Act, it did not do so in…
In a competitive industry trade secrets can be incredibly valuable. As a result, when trade secrets are stolen, litigation is common. Customer information, supply-chain strategies, marketing plans: all of these have been the subject of lawsuits, typically driven by a high-level executive leaving one company and joining another. Will insurance cover these kinds of trade secrets claims? Maybe—and as a result, every business faced with a trade secrets claim should examine their policies to see…
Last month, the Copyright Office’s Review Board denied for the second time the application of the Union des associations européennes de Football (UEFA) for copyright registration in UEFA’s EURO Trophy. The Trophy is shown below: According to the Board, the Trophy’s overall shape is no different than standard Greek amphora, and thus “as a whole, does not rise to the level of creativity required by the Copyright Act” and is only “a de minimis standard…
As contractors well know, most construction workers are entitled to overtime pay when they have to work more than 40 hours a week. However, under the Fair Labor Standards Act, there is a “white collar” exception for certain employees who earn no less than a standard salary threshold and meet other conditions. In May of 2016, the U.S. Department of Labor (DOL) raised that salary threshold to $47,476, but the rule was later enjoined by…
Anyone with an internet connection can find copyrighted content to download—legally or illegally. But the Ninth Circuit has now held that the mere fact that a rightsholder can show an individual is connected to the IP address through which illegal downloading took place is not enough to make out a case for copyright infringement. In Cobbler Nevada v. Gonzales, plaintiff Cobbler owns the rights to a soon-to-be-released movie, copies of which started illegally becoming…
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…
In 1710, during the reign of Queen Anne, Great Britain’s Parliament enacted the statute that gave rise to copyright as we know it—the Statute of Anne—which was the first statute to declare that the subject matter of copyright would be regulated by the government and the courts, rather than agreements between private parties. Seven years later, the English pirate Blackbeard captured a French merchant vessel, renamed her the Queen Anne’s Revenge, and soon after ran her…
We had a great turnout at our Seattle Breakfast Roundtable earlier this week, which was attended by in-house counsel, representatives from a diverse group of companies across the industry, and attorneys in our Construction team. Our conversation covered a range of topics, including contract terms and requirements, project communications, and documentation. In particular, we discussed the importance of making sure contracts match what happens in the field and ensuring that the onsite team has knowledge…
Music City Metals (MCM) built a thriving business designing and selling replacement parts for name-brand BBQ grills. Too good, it turns out, as a number of foreign competitors also jumped into the game, copying MCM’s own replacement parts and selling those replacements for the replacements. While MCM thought it was fine to market itself as providing replacement parts for other companies’ grills, and to use those other companies’ trademarks to explain which grills its products…