When Is a Trade Secret Not a Trade Secret? When You Don’t Protect It Like One

Non-compete, confidentiality clauses, nondisclosure, employment agreements, Illinois

In Abrasic 90 Inc. v. Weldcote Metals, Inc., 364 F. Supp.3d 888 (N.D. Ill., 2019), U.S. District Court Judge Tharp of the Northern District of Illinois provides a virtual checklist of the steps a company should consider if it wants its important information to be treated as a trade secret. Alternatively, the decision serves as a valuable reminder of what happens if an employer fails to implement appropriate protective measures. Continue reading

Inevitable Disclosure Is No Substitute For Post-Employment Non-Competition Provision

Non-Compete, Nondisclosure, Trade Secrets, Illinois, Inevitable Disclosure

In reversing the trial court’s grant of a preliminary injunction, the Illinois Appellate Court in Archer Daniels Midland Company v. Sinele et al., (2019 IL App 4th 180714, decided February 1, 2019) reminds employers that the doctrine of inevitable discovery is not a foolproof substitute for enforceable post-employment restrictions on competition.  Continue reading

Court Compels Arbitration of Non-Compete Claim Based on Arbitration Clause in Separate Agreement

Non-Compete, Non-Solicit, Arbitration Provision, DTSA, Illinois

A federal court, in a non-competition setting, had to untangle the relationship between three separate agreements. One contained an arbitration provision but the others did not. Ultimately, the court determined that some parties had to arbitrate some claims but that others did not have to arbitrate.  Continue reading

Don’t Let the Janitor [Rule] Sweep Away Your Non-Compete

Non-Compete, Janitor Rule, Employment Agreements, Restrictive Covenants

A recent federal decision from the Northern District of Illinois again illustrates the perils of drafting and attempting to enforce overbroad restrictive covenants. In the case of Medix Staffing Solutions, Inc. v. Dumrauf, 17-cv-6648, 2018 WL 1859039 (N.D.Ill. Apr. 17, 2018)(Ellis, J.), Medix, a pharmaceutical, biotech and medical device company, attempted to enforce a non-compete agreement against its former Director, Dumrauf, who had been responsible for its medical sales and recruiting strategies and who had left to work for a direct competitor, ProLink.  Continue reading

Illinois Court Examines What Constitutes Improper “Solicitation” Of Customers

Non-solicit, Employment Agreement, Quality Transportation Services, Thompson Trucking, Illinois

Although many restrictive covenants prohibit solicitation, there is comparatively little case law discussing in detail what “solicitation” means. A new Illinois Appellate Court decision sheds some light on the meaning of this key term. 

Quality Transportation Services, Inc. v. Thompson Trucking, Inc., 2017 IL App (3d) 160761 involved a contract dispute arising from the language of a transportation brokerage agreement. Continue reading

Ohio Non-Compete Law Applied To An Illinois Employee Under Choice-of-Law Clause

Non-Compete, Ohio, Illinois, Choice-of-Law

Variations in non-compete law from state to state can be frustrating for employers with multi-state workforces. A restriction that works in one state might be invalid in another.

A common fix is to include a choice-of-law clause designating a state that favors enforcement of non-competes, but the enforceability of such clauses also varies widely in different jurisdictions. That’s why the Northern District of Illinois’ recent PCM Sales, Inc. v. Reed decision enforcing an Ohio choice-of-law clause against an Illinois employee is a big win for employers. Continue reading

2016 Trade Secret/Restrictive Covenant Year-In-Review

2016, DTSA, Illinois, White House, Guidance to HR

Having flipped the calendar over to a new year, here’s a look back at some of the developments in trade secrets and restrictive covenants that shaped the law in 2016. Some major developments came not from the courts, but from the legislative and executive branches—both federal and state.
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