Tag Archives: Trade Secrets

The Auto Industry Has a New Weapon To Protect Its Secrets

President Obama signed the Defend Trade Secrets Act (“DTSA”) into law on Wednesday, May 11, 2016. Members of the auto industry spend significant time and money developing trade secrets that give them a competitive advantage. The DTSA provides the auto industry with a new method to protect its valuable trade secrets. Prior to the DTSA, most trade … Continue reading this entry

5 Tips for Retaining Employees in the Automotive Industry

Attracting and retaining employees in the automotive industry can be very challenging, especially when competitors are doing what they can to lure the best talent. After you provide an employee with a good job, training and development, customer contacts, and access to trade secret and other confidential information, it is discouraging, to say the least, … Continue reading this entry

Fifth Circuit Upholds Copyright Preemption of Trade Secret-Related Claims

U.S. Supreme Court Expands Scope of Whistleblower Protections
Situations abound in which a defendant has been sued in state court, and wants to get to federal court. In cases in which the plaintiff has not pled a federal claim, and where diversity of citizenship is absent, there may not be a ready avenue to get to federal court. In jurisdictions with a plaintiff-friendly … Continue reading this entry

Avoiding Human Capital Problems When Closing an Automotive Facility

In recent years, manufacturers across an array of industries, including the auto industry, have closed facilities, corporate offices, warehouses, and production plants, for a variety of reasons. Closures affect companies throughout the supply chain. All too often, these companies overlook important legal requirements or planning steps, especially where human capital is concerned. Thus, we compiled the … Continue reading this entry

Is It Time to Switch Gears? Enforceability of Automotive Company Employee Confidentiality Restrictions

New Federal Trade Secret Protections on the Horizon?
Given the large workforces and importance of intellectual property and trade secrets in the automotive industry, automotive companies rely heavily on confidentiality provisions in employment agreements and employee handbooks. Thanks to a recent enforcement action brought by the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC), it may be time to review and revise these confidentiality provisions.… Continue reading this entry

Stop. Wait a Minute. I Have a Few Questions Before You Drive Away

With the continued success of the auto industry, comes the increase in employee mobility. Regardless of how great you are as an employer, not all of your employees will stick around forever, especially your most valuable employees who may now be provided with more opportunities to move down the street to a competitor. If the … Continue reading this entry

Automotive Companies Should Seek to Minimize Risk When Hiring Employees From a Competitor

When discussing trade secrets and strategies to protect valuable proprietary information, most automotive companies focus on their outbound risk. In other words, OEMs and suppliers pay close attention to protecting their own valuable trade secrets and proprietary information by implementing strong protections and policies such as to limit access to this information and to require … Continue reading this entry

European Trade Secrets Directive Looks to Unify and Strengthen Protection of Proprietary Business Information in the EU

New Federal Trade Secret Protections on the Horizon?
Home to several of the world’s largest OEMs, and a major place of operations for others, Europe has a thriving automotive industry. As borders have become more and more open in the European Union, OEMs and their suppliers often have operations in several different countries. However, these businesses, as do those in other industries, then have to … Continue reading this entry

When It Comes to Confidentiality Agreements, Just Getting the Signature Is Not Enough

New Federal Trade Secret Protections on the Horizon?
Automotive suppliers and other manufacturers frequently have to share their valuable intellectual property with third parties. A supplier might need to share CAD files with another supplier to ensure that the finished product works, or a business that has designed a product may outsource the manufacturing to a business that can better handle production. Parties to such … Continue reading this entry

Federal Court Reminds Trade Secret Owners That the Statute of Limitations Isn’t Everything When it Comes to Misappropriation Claims

Several years after an employee leaves your company, you realize that he or she has been using confidential and proprietary information acquired from your business to compete against you. Your non-compete agreement with the employee had expired before the employee started using the information, and you know that the statute of limitations under your state’s … Continue reading this entry

New Federal Trade Secret Protections on the Horizon?

Conspicuously absent in the quiver of arrows available to a business looking to take action against someone who has misappropriated or is threatening to misappropriate its trade secrets is a federal cause of action for misappropriation. While the Economic Espionage Act has been used in prosecutions for trade secret misappropriation (including within the automotive industry), it … Continue reading this entry

Shift To Modular Platforms Raises New Issues for Manufacturers And Suppliers

One way in which next-generation manufacturing is impacting the automotive industry is the movement toward modular architecture. These designs use common underpinnings for various models across a variety of vehicle segments, minimizing the variation between parts needed for these models. Volkswagen says their MQB architecture will eventually underpin roughly 40 models, ranging from subcompact hatchbacks like the … Continue reading this entry

Fifth Circuit Affirms Dismissal of International Trade Secret Dispute

Even as the Obama administration is announcing an effort to crack down on international trade secret theft, the Fifth Circuit has released a ruling reminding companies just how difficult it can be to go to court on their own behalf to protect trade secrets from misappropriation taking place overseas. In Innovation First International, Inc. v. … Continue reading this entry

Administration Announces Strategy for Protecting U.S. Trade Secrets

Theft of trade secrets by persons acting on behalf of foreign governments and corporations is a major problem for U.S. manufacturers, including manufacturers in the automotive industries. Spurred by several high-profile instances of trade secret theft — including the convictions of Yu Xiang Dong for stealing trade secrets from Ford and of Shanshan Du and … Continue reading this entry