Noncompete and Trade Secrets

Overview

BakerHostetler's National Noncompete and Trade Secrets team of nearly 40 attorneys has deep experience handling all aspects of the legal issues that arise when employees move between competitive firms. Our extensive experience also extends to handling non-compete and trade secret issues arising from the acquisition and sale of businesses, as well as from other business transactions, including the preparation of executive employment/consulting agreements.

We represent all parties involved in employee movement matters: employers hiring individual executives and management teams or retaining non-employee advisors; organizations in competitive environments when confronted by individual and group defections; and individuals or groups moving between organizations. We also represent all parties involved in various business transactions in which non-compete and trade secret issues are involved.

We recognize the time-sensitive nature of employee movement issues and related business transactions, and our national footprint, with offices throughout the country, enables us to respond to any issue at any time.

We work with organizations on a proactive basis, whether it is devising strategies to on-board key personnel or counseling management and executives on the development of workforce stability programs and other methods designed to protect the organization's non-patentable trade secrets, customer information and other competitive elements. Our team works closely with attorneys from our Intellectual Property, Business and Tax groups and we frequently collaborate with our interdisciplinary Executive Compensation practice team.

With that breadth of knowledge and insight, our attorneys negotiate, draft and defend and enforce all types of restrictive covenants, including non-compete, non-solicitation and non-disclosure 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.
Handling all aspects of these arrangements—from conceptualization to defense and enforcement—enables the team to appreciate the nuances involved, identify practical approaches and better understand each company's priorities and concerns.

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How do our clients benefit?

We have developed a full suite of services and strategies to help organizations either limit the risks when seeking to avoid the effects of restrictive covenants during the on-boarding of a competitor’s employees or, on the other hand, to create restrictive covenants and other agreements that protect an organization’s overall competitive interests against unfair competition and the loss of proprietary information and trade secrets when confronted with employee departures.

Select Experience

  • Obtained preliminary injunction against product designer who left to re-join a prior employer and then successfully moved to expand that injunction to address subsequent competitive conduct.
  • 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 secret testimony is elicited; and dicta in the case supports the “inevitable disclosure doctrine” on a broader context.
  • Represented 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 Fourth 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 a technology corporation in a lawsuit against two former employees who were sued for breach of contract and breach of fiduciary duty for violating their non-compete, non-disclosure, and non-solicit obligations in their employment agreements. On the eve of a three-week jury trial, we settled the matter a terms highly favorable to our client.
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Professionals

Name Title Office Email
Partner Orlando
Partner Atlanta
Associate Denver
Partner Los Angeles
Partner Atlanta
Partner Houston
Partner Washington, D.C.
Partner Houston
Associate New York
Partner New York
Partner Seattle
Associate Houston
Partner Columbus
Partner Atlanta
Partner Cincinnati
Associate Houston
Associate Atlanta
Counsel Orlando
Associate Orlando
Partner Los Angeles
Partner Cleveland
Partner Cincinnati
Partner Orlando
Partner Cleveland
Staff Attorney Cleveland
Partner Columbus
Associate Atlanta
Partner Los Angeles
Partner Washington, D.C.
Partner Orlando
Partner Los Angeles
Associate New York
Partner New York
Partner Cleveland
Partner Orlando
Partner Houston
Partner Chicago
Partner New York
Associate Houston
Associate Houston
Associate Los Angeles
Partner Atlanta

Experience

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

  • Obtained preliminary injunction against product designer who left to re-join a prior employer and then successfully moved to expand that injunction to address subsequent competitive conduct.
  • 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 secret testimony is elicited; and dicta in the case supports the “inevitable disclosure doctrine” on a broader context.
  • Represented 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 Fourth 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 a technology corporation in a lawsuit against two former employees who were sued for breach of contract and breach of fiduciary duty for violating their non-compete, non-disclosure, and non-solicit obligations in their employment agreements. On the eve of a three-week jury trial, we settled the matter a terms highly favorable to our client.

Recognition

  • Chambers USA: Labor & Employment
    • Florida (2007 to 2018)
      • Band 2
    • Ohio (2007 to 2018)
      • Band 1
    • Texas (2014 to 2018)
      • Band 3
    • Recognized Practitioner in California (2018)
    • Recognized Practitioner in the District of Columbia (2018)
  • The Legal 500 United States: Intellectual Property - Trade Secrets (Litigation and Non-Contentions Matters), Tier 4 (2018) 
  • “Best Law Firms” 2014: National Tier 1 Ranking in the area of Employment Law - Management from U.S. News – Best Lawyers®.
  • The Best Lawyers in America© 2014: Twenty-two partners were selected by their peers for inclusion in various employment-related fields.
  • Corporate Counsel® and The American Lawyer magazines "Go-to Law Firm” for Labor & Employment by general counsel (2013) 
  • Workforce Management Magazine: Top Employment Law Firms
  • The Lawdragon/Human Resource Executive list of the Nation's Top Employment Attorneys includes three members of the team in their Top 100 list, with one additional attorney named among the nation's top 20 labor lawyers.
  • Florida Trend “Legal Elite"
  • Numerous partners have been certified as employment law specialists by their respective state bar associations.
  • Recognized as one of the top law firms for client service, BakerHostetler was named to the 2019 BTI Client Service 30 for the fifth consecutive year.

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