Noncompete and Trade Secrets

Overview

With only the most creative and experienced attorneys on deck who understand both the litigation and transactional issues attendant to the movement of employees between competitive firms, we assist our clients in achieving positive, concrete results while at all times keeping in mind the best interests of the company under each unique set of circumstances.

With national reach and local expertise as well as first-chair trial strength on the ground in every region of the country, BakerHostetler’s Noncompete and Trade Secrets team offers complete coverage and capability to service client needs nationally. We advise and litigate for clients in employee movement and trade secrets matters in every industry, both in federal and state courts and in arbitral forums. Our experience and results serve the best interests of our clients and are tailored to the unique set of circumstances in each matter.

BakerHostetler’s Noncompete and Trade Secrets team is a multidisciplinary team with proven experience in handling all aspects of employee movement matters and business transactions in which noncompete and trade secrets are involved. With our national footprint and knowledge of federal and state trade secrets laws, we are able to respond quickly to handle all aspects of these arrangements – from conceptualization to defense and enforcement – appreciating the nuances involved and identifying practical approaches that align with each company’s priorities and concerns.

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Advice and Counsel

We advise and counsel on all aspects of the employee relationship, including advising employers hiring individual executives and management teams or retaining nonemployee consultants; organizations that are in competitive environments when confronted by individual and group defections; and individuals or groups who are moving between organizations. We also represent all parties involved in various business transactions in which noncompete and trade secrets issues are involved.

Our team negotiates, drafts, defends and enforces all types of restrictive covenants, including noncompete, nonsolicitation and nondisclosure agreements; executive and key employee employment agreements; deferred compensation plans; change-in-control and separation agreements; and equity-award and stock-option plans and agreements.

Litigation

While we counsel companies to avoid costly litigation when appropriate, our team litigates – and wins – noncompete and trade secrets cases nationally when necessary to serve clients’ interests. We have first-rate, experienced, first-chair noncompete and trade secrets litigators on the ground in nearly all our offices. We are a fully capable, national litigation strike force able to bring or defend against temporary restraining order (TRO) and injunction motions on a moment’s notice and litigate cases through to trial when appropriate, whether they involve claims under the Defend Trade Secrets Act, any state’s version of the Uniform Trade Secrets Act, or state common law or related business torts. In noncompete and trade secrets litigation, speed and strategy are key, and our team has the expertise and experience to act quickly and effectively to achieve the results clients need.

Select Experience

Our experience includes working with financial services companies, hospitality industry clients, technology and media entities, entertainment companies, service providers, energy companies, manufacturers and industrial interests, healthcare organizations, staffing services, executive search firms and recruiters, pharmaceutical companies and their sales and marketing professionals, and beyond. Some representative matters include:

  • Prosecuting claims for a global consulting firm that lost 35 senior professionals due to competitor’s disregard of noncompete and nonsolicitation covenants and related business torts. Defeated competitor’s attempt to preemptively litigate the case in California, where noncompetes are not enforced, and successfully prevailed on all pretrial motions with case scheduled to be tried to a jury in 2021.
  • Litigated cases for more than a decade for a Wall Street investment bank in state and federal courts in New York and nationally and FINRA arbitrations involving onboarding and exiting employees; theft of trading algorithms, customer lists and other trade secrets information; and solicitation of client relationships.
  • Defending a large healthcare system in a matter involving claims brought by a former senior vice president of business development for failure to pay commissions, and counterclaims by the client for breach of noncompete and nonsolicitation covenants, tortious interference, and bonus repayment. On behalf of the company, we obtained a temporary injunction against the former employee and are further seeking a permanent injunction to prevent him from working for three years in violation of his restrictive covenants. In December 2019, we obtained summary judgment on liability against the former employee on breach of his noncompete and nonsolicitation covenants. A trial for damages is set for early 2021 in federal court in Orlando.
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Professionals

Name Title Office Email
Partner Orlando
Partner New York
Partner Dallas
Partner Washington, D.C.
Partner Los Angeles
Partner Atlanta
Partner Washington, D.C.
Counsel Atlanta
Associate Denver
Associate Denver
Partner Washington, D.C.
Partner Los Angeles
Associate San Francisco
Partner Atlanta
Associate Orlando
Partner Atlanta
Partner Washington, D.C.
Partner Costa Mesa
Partner Seattle
Partner Houston
Partner Washington, D.C.
Partner New York
Partner Columbus
Associate Los Angeles
Partner Atlanta
Associate New York
Partner Cincinnati
Associate Houston
Partner Cincinnati
Associate Atlanta
Associate Houston
Of Counsel New York
Counsel Orlando
Partner Chicago
Partner Orlando
Partner Costa Mesa
Associate Philadelphia
Associate Orlando
Partner Los Angeles
Partner Cleveland
Partner Cincinnati
Partner Cleveland
Associate New York
Partner Seattle
Partner Cleveland
Partner Orlando
Partner Philadelphia
Partner Los Angeles
Counsel Washington, D.C.
Associate Los Angeles
Partner Denver
Partner Atlanta
Partner Columbus
Associate Atlanta
Partner Los Angeles
Associate Columbus
Partner Denver
Partner Washington, D.C.
Partner Orlando
Associate New York
Partner San Francisco
Partner Los Angeles
Partner Orlando
Partner New York
Partner Washington, D.C.
Associate New York
Partner Cleveland
Partner Houston
Partner Houston
Partner Orlando
Partner Chicago
Partner New York
Of Counsel Houston
Partner Cleveland
Associate Costa Mesa
Associate Los Angeles

Experience

Our experience includes working with financial services companies, hospitality industry clients, technology and media entities, entertainment companies, service providers, energy companies, manufacturers and industrial interests, healthcare organizations, staffing services, executive search firms and recruiters, pharmaceutical companies and their sales and marketing professionals, and beyond. Some representative matters include:

  • Prosecuting claims for a global consulting firm that lost 35 senior professionals due to competitor’s disregard of noncompete and nonsolicitation covenants and related business torts. Defeated competitor’s attempt to preemptively litigate the case in California, where noncompetes are not enforced, and successfully prevailed on all pretrial motions with case scheduled to be tried to a jury in 2021.
  • Litigated cases for more than a decade for a Wall Street investment bank in state and federal courts in New York and nationally and FINRA arbitrations involving onboarding and exiting employees; theft of trading algorithms, customer lists and other trade secrets information; and solicitation of client relationships.
  • Defending a large healthcare system in a matter involving claims brought by a former senior vice president of business development for failure to pay commissions, and counterclaims by the client for breach of noncompete and nonsolicitation covenants, tortious interference, and bonus repayment. On behalf of the company, we obtained a temporary injunction against the former employee and are further seeking a permanent injunction to prevent him from working for three years in violation of his restrictive covenants. In December 2019, we obtained summary judgment on liability against the former employee on breach of his noncompete and nonsolicitation covenants. A trial for damages is set for early 2021 in federal court in Orlando.
  • Represented one of Ohio’s largest medical practice groups in a matter involving a former physician who violated noncompete provisions of his employment contract when he resigned to work for a competitor. After the court granted injunctive relief to our client, preventing the physician from practicing, the matter was settled at terms favorable to our client. In another matter for the same medical practice group, we were able to protect our client’s interests in opposing the enforceability of an employment agreement for a world-renowned physician it recently hired from a competitor so that he could practice for our client without restrictions. These matters represent successful results for our client that go beyond just the financial value and investment of millions of dollars, as they also involve the protection of public health and our client’s goodwill and its viability as the largest group employer of clinical specialists in the region.
  • Defended a large integrated solid waste services company in a hotly contested trade secrets misappropriation, breach of agreement and tortious interference case brought against a former employee and his new employer in Atlanta. We initially obtained a temporary injunction and ultimately a permanent final injunction against both defendants, and a monetary settlement from the former employee.
  • Represented an oil and gas company before the Texas Supreme Court in a precedent-setting case involving the Texas Uniform Trade Secrets Act. The case was significant because this opinion is the first published opinion specifically providing that under the Act, the court (upon a proper balancing test and inquiry) may exclude a competitor’s representatives from the injunction hearing while trade secrets testimony is elicited; and dicta in the case support the “inevitable disclosure doctrine” on a broader context.
  • Defended a home health provider in a matter challenging the enforceability of the provider’s noncompete agreements with respect to referral sources. In a unanimous decision, the Florida Supreme Court agreed with our client’s position and upheld a Florida district court of appeal’s decision finding that referral sources in the home health industry are a legitimate business interest protectable under Florida law.
  • Represented one of the world’s leading suppliers in the field of energy technology in a case against four former employees who collectively left our client and joined a new employer, a competitor, for trade secrets misappropriation, tortious interference and breach of contract. A stipulated permanent injunction was obtained against all defendants and monetary relief was awarded to the client.
  • Represented a major financial institution in a case brought against three former employees and their new employer, a competitor, for breach of noncompete agreements, tortious interference and defamation. Obtained an extremely favorable settlement, including permanent injunctive relief against all defendants and a significant monetary payment to our client, the financial institution.

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