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Business Asset Protection

Overview

In an information-driven business environment, companies in every industry face threats to their core – and often irreplaceable – assets:  their intellectual property, trade secrets, client and customer relationships, and their significant investment in human capital.  Many employers are stung by a departing employee who circulates its most coveted secrets by simply pressing “send” on the way out the door.

Threats emerge as well from new hires who may bring to the job restrictive covenants that limit where and how they may perform their roles.  Often these issues do not surface until after the new employer receives a “cease and desist” letter telling them of obligations for which they may not have even been aware.  These events involve complex interdisciplinary areas of the law touching on employment, IP, trade secrets, executive compensation, and litigation.

At Waller, we assist clients throughout the country in matters related to hiring and firing employees who have confidential information from our clients’ assets. Our objective is to help protect intellectual property, client relationships, and human capital.

When matters must be litigated, our attorneys have broad and deep experience securing and defending applications for injunctive relief in many jurisdictions, and we have represented clients whose non-compete interests implicate international issues. We know these cases often ramp up quickly, and we have a nimble team of experienced litigators who can literally drop in to any case on a moment’s notice to protect the client’s interests. 

From on-boarding and off-boarding employees to ongoing operations, our comprehensive experience covers every stage of business asset protection:

  • Advising on the strategy for bringing on new hires
  • Creating new and updating employment agreements
  • Training executives and employees on important aspects of protecting company assets
  • Designing and implementing information security protocols to prevent intentional and inadvertent loss of data
  • Defending and enforcing non-compete lawsuits, interference claims, and employee raiding matters
  • Investigating trade secret loss or theft
  • Preventing improper solicitation of customers or employees

Experience

On-Boarding

  • Prepared executive and c-suite level non-compete, non-solicitation, and non-disclosure agreements as a component of employment agreements
  • Defended against enforcement of non-compete agreements and other commercial claims brought by former employers against former employees and their new employers 
  • Defended against injunctive relief sought against sales representative in food services business
  • Obtained personal jurisdiction over Texas corporate defendant based on activities of sales representative in Tennessee
  • Defeated enforcement of non-compete agreement after discovery showed two competing versions of agreement existed

Off-Boarding

  • Enforced non-compete agreements on behalf of employers in practically every business segment including healthcare, financial services, retail and hospitality, automotive, manufacturing, information technology, and professional athletics
  • Obtained judicial enforcement of 18-month worldwide non-compete agreement in automotive supply industry
  • Obtained temporary restraining order prohibiting former employee from working for new employer under inevitable disclosure doctrine where there was not a non-competition agreement
  • Obtained temporary restraining order and enforced non-compete and non-solicitation agreement against former executive in Atlanta under Georgia law
  • Obtained temporary restraining order prohibiting CEO and three vice presidents from conspiring to use company’s trade secrets to steal one of its largest contractual relationships
  • Enforced temporary restraining order to prohibit former trust officer from taking with him clients and accounts that he had serviced but improperly solicited
  • Lead counsel for a healthcare company suing a former top level executive for violation of a non-solicit, violation of a non-compete and misappropriation of trade secrets
  • Counsel for a healthcare software company in a trade secret misappropriation action regarding the alleged theft of information by programmers who were joining a competitor
  • Local counsel for a national insurance company in dealing with multiple lawsuits across the country required by the coordinated exodus of multiple employees to join a competitor
  • Lead counsel for national franchisors in enforcing noncompetition provisions against breaching franchisees
  • Obtained TRO in non-disclosure case involving professional wrestling companies

Ongoing Operations

  • Established point of law requiring a current employee to sign a non-compete agreement under threat of termination of at-will employment status does not constitute duress under Tennessee law.
  • Counsel for a manufacturer in investigating the potential illegal access of information by employees for a competitor
  • Represent renewable energy company in managing transfer of trade secrets and know-how from prior owners/inventors as part of sale of assets
  • Regularly draft and enforce non-compete, non-solicitation and confidentiality agreements for hospice company with operations in eight states across the United States 
  • Represent investment company in acquisition of trade secrets and technology from a European robotics developer
  • Lead counsel for investor-owned healthcare company in matters involving the enforcement of restrictive covenants protecting the goodwill of affiliated businesses
  • Counsel in multiple Computer Fraud and Abuse Act matters
  • Regularly review and update employee invention assignment agreements following acquisitions or management changes
  • Advise clients on the decision of whether to patent a technology or maintain it as trade secret
  • Represent a national food distributor in protecting and developing proprietary recipes for its food products
  • Consult with clients on development of intellectual property and trade secret policies
  • Prepare product development agreements in the food services and software development areas that include trade secret protection
  • Served as court-appointed Special Master to address computer issues regarding the Stored Communications Act

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