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Trade Secret and Noncompete Litigation

Attorneys in the Trade Secret and Noncompete Litigation Practice at Montgomery McCracken represent  employers and employees in disputes involving trade secrets, noncompete and nonsolicitation agreements, the employee duty of loyalty, and similar matters.

We represent our clients in all aspects of this practice, including:

  • preparing agreements and other documents that allow employers to protect valuable information and customer relationships;
  • counseling employers on comprehensive steps, such as trade secret audits, toward the same goals;
  • counseling employers concerning responses to raiding by competitors, including litigation, and
  • modification of personnel policies and compensation practices;
  • counseling employers on lawful and effective practices toward hiring the best workforce, including candidates from the competition; and
  • counseling individuals planning job changes concerning effective techniques for maximizing value to the future employer, while avoiding litigation.

We also represent employers and employees in litigation concerning trade secrets, noncompete and nonsolicitation agreements, the employee duty of loyalty, and similar matters, in state and federal courts.

Past Representations

Examples of past representations by members of the MMWR Trade Secret and Noncompete Litigation Practice include:

  • an MMWR client that provides assigned professionals to perform mission-critical services for its customers had a payment dispute with one of those customers. When negotiations over this payment dispute reached an impasse, the customer hired the assigned professional directly, eliminating the role of the MMWR client. MMWR obtained an injunction in state court barring the assigned professional from performing any services for the customer, except as an employee of the MMWR client. The payment dispute and the full relationship between the MMWR client and its customer were soon resolved on terms favorable to the MMWR client;
  • an MMWR client received the resignations, without prior notice, of two key sales employees. Evidence strongly suggested pre-departure solicitation of clients and diversion of orders by the sales employees. MMWR obtained injunctive relief and ultimately secured a $500,000 settlement;
  • an out-of-state company bought a Pennsylvania corporation, and within a year of the completion of the sale, it learned that the selling shareholder had gone into competition with it, in violation of the noncompete provisions of the asset purchase agreement. MMWR instituted a lawsuit in federal court seeking repayment of the purchase price of the business and injunctive relief, and commenced expedited discovery. The matter was resolved within several weeks through a seven figure settlement;
  • an out of state employer and employee were sued in federal court in Pennsylvania by the individual’s former employer, seeking enforcement of a noncompete agreement. All injunctive relief was denied after MMWR convinced the federal judge that because of a wrinkle in Pennsylvania law, the noncompete agreement lacked adequate consideration;
  • several employees planning to leave their employer and form their own business approached MMWR for advice on a lawful transition. After careful planning and development of detailed defenses to any lawsuit, the employees resigned. Although the employer had a history of litigation against former employees and threatened litigation in this case, MMWR was successful in convincing the former employer that any lawsuit would be resisted vigorously and effectively. The former employer elected not to pursue litigation.

Positions, Speaking Engagements and Publications

Activities of attorneys in the MMWR Trade Secret and Noncompete Litigation Practice include the following:

Chairs

  • Program Chair, “IP, Technology & Trade Secret Issues in Employment Law,” Law Seminars International Conference, Philadelphia, PA.
  • Chair, United States Law Firm Group Summit on Trade Secret and Noncompete Issues, Philadelphia, PA.

Speaking Engagements

  • “The Newly Enacted Pennsylvania Uniform Trade Secrets Act and What It Will Mean for Employers and  Employees,” Eleventh Annual Employment Law Institute, at the Pennsylvania Convention Center.
  • “Selection of Forum by Plaintiff-Employers in Trade Secret-Noncompete Cases,” United States Law Firm Group Meeting, Hartford, CT.
  • “Litigation of a Nonsolicitation of Customers Case,” ABA Section of Litigation Annual Meeting, Houston, Texas.
  • Panelist, “Trade Secrets: Can We Talk?” ABA Annual Meeting, Chicago, Illinois.
  • “Duty of Loyalty, Trade Secrets and Noncompetes in the Insurance Industry,” Insurance Society of Philadelphia.
  • “Protecting Your Organization’s Trade Secrets and Confidential Information,” Berks County Manufacturers Association.
  • “Duty of Loyalty, Trade Secrets and Noncompetes,” Philadelphia Bar Association State Bench-Bar Conference, Philadelphia, PA.
  • “Protecting Your Trade Secrets and Confidential Information,” Third Annual Employment Law Institute, Pennsylvania Convention Center.

Publications

  • The Computer Fraud and Abuse Act: America’s New Employment Law, Wharton School Center for Human Resources White Paper.
  • The Impact of Pennsylvania’s New Trade Secret Law, Wharton School Center for Human Resources White Paper.
  • The Employee Duty of Loyalty, Wharton School Center for Human Resources White Paper.
  • The Employee Duty of Loyalty, Human Resource Professional.
  • What Can You Do When Competitors Raid Your Employees?, HR Reporter.
  • HR Is On The Front Line in Protecting Trade Secrets, HR Reporter.
  • What Is a Trade Secret, Anyway?, Employment and Labor Relations Law.
  • A Preventive Approach to Trade Secret Protection, Human Resource Professional.
  • Don’t Hire Any Trade Secret Lawsuits, HR Reporter.
For More Information

For more information, please contact co-chairs Daniel P. O’Meara, at 610-889-2215 or email at domeara@mmwr.com or Chastity C. Bruno at 215-772-7290  or  email cbruno@mmwr.com.