Trade secret, non-compete and unfair competition
The damage caused by the loss of customer relationships, employees, or confidential business or trade secret information can be immeasurable and irreparable. Regardless of your business or industry you cannot afford to lose your competitive advantage.
At McDonald Hopkins, our mission is to help your business safeguard its most valuable business assets: human capital, client relationships, intellectual property, technology, trade secrets, and data. McDonald Hopkins attorneys have counseled on trade secret and non-compete matters in all 50 states and litigated restrictive covenant and trade secret matters in over 36 states. We regularly work with clients on a wide range of trade secret, non-compete and unfair competition issues, from crafting and negotiating employment agreements and restrictive covenants, to taking immediate legal action when a client’s business assets are threatened. We have represented companies in implementing and enforcing restrictive covenant programs, and guided executive level employees as they contemplate changes of employment in light of restrictive covenants.
Our approach to protecting business assets involves a three-step process that allows clients to efficiently inventory their business assets and interests and allows us to counsel on the appropriate means to protect them, and identify what measures may be taken against those who misappropriate their confidential and trade secret information, business assets, and opportunities.
- Trade secret and non-compete review - From the executive level down, our team will review the business assets that each level of employee is exposed to and utilizes in their positions to determine the amount of protection required. Examples of protectable business assets include client/customer relationships, supplier relationships, bidding information, pricing and margin information, strategic plans, and prospective business opportunities
- Tailored restrictive agreements - We design agreements and other protective measures that match the level of protection needed with the level of risk posed by various employees and competitors. Through non-compete, non-solicit, anti-piracy, and confidentiality agreements, our team creates graded agreements from least restrictive (confidentiality) to the most restrictive (global non-compete) designed to align the appropriate level of protection with the appropriate employee. One size does not necessarily fit all when applying restrictive covenants. We can also provide you with tailored agreements – customized to your industry and complying with relevant state and federal law– that can be used when you are bringing new employees on to your team. Our team works with you to decide the critical terms of the agreements, such as the scope of the restrictions, definitions of clients and prospective clients, choice of law, and forum selection. The ultimate goal we keep in mind is to always make sure your business assets and trade secrets will be protected.
- Restrictive covenant enforcement - Our team is ready to take immediate legal action when your business assets are threatened. As part of our enforcement plan, we formulate a response team with you to consistently and efficiently address violations anywhere - locally, regionally, and across the country. Failure to take immediate action can adversely affect not only the current matter, but also future enforcement actions. Thus, it is essential to move swiftly, aggressively, and with a fine-tuned strategy that incorporates your needs, governing law, and local state nuances.
Experience on the other side of the table
With McDonald Hopkins, you get the added value of a firm with experience and expertise on the other side of the table. Our attorneys routinely work with executives and high-level employees who are negotiating new employment agreements or facing claims from former employers. We counsel individuals on their rights and obligations before and during employment and at the time of departure, and also work with businesses looking to hire employees who are subject to oppressive restrictive covenants.
- Enforcement of non-solicitation agreement and confidentiality agreements against financial advisor.
- Enforcement of non-solicitation and anti-piracy provisions against former accountants; successfully defended declaratory action.
- Enforcement of nine-county non-compete and non-solicit (Minnesota) against former legal staffing attorney.
- Enforcement of 14-county non-compete and non-solicit (Oregon) against former Regional Manager.
- Enforcement of statewide (Texas) non-compete and non-solicit agreement against former regional vice president.
- Successful defense of trade secret misappropriation action involving software developer for electronic medical record organization.
- Enforcement action of national non-compete/non-solicit agreement and trade secret misappropriation allegations against former CFO of subsidiary for Fortune 500 energy construction and infrastructure company.
- Enforcement action of non-compete/non-solicit agreement against vice president of sales for national automotive supplier.
- Represented national maintenance parts supplier in lawsuit against nine former employees and their new employer alleging claims for theft of trade secrets and violation of non-solicitation agreements. Case settled on favorable terms for client.
- Secured a Temporary Restraining on behalf of employer precluding the salesperson’s work with competition. The matter was later settled on favorable terms to Samson Industrial, LLC.
- Successfully defended Winthrop-Atkins against Carcross’
- Motion for a Preliminary Injunction to enforce a non-compete agreement involving a salesperson hired by Winthrop-Atkins.
- Enforcement of non-solicitation agreements and confidentiality agreements against former sales representatives.
- Successful enforcement action against former employee for trade secret misappropriation.
- We represented plaintiff medical group against former employee on non-solicitation and non-compete agreement in employment contract. Successful in entry of TRO which led to settlement agreement.