Baker Botts' trade secret practice includes a multidisciplinary group of employment, commercial and tech-savvy litigators. One of the things that distinguishes us is our technical know-how - our IP practice consists of over 180 lawyers and professionals with 220 technical degrees spanning every industry area – from software, semiconductors, telecommunications, and optics, to across the life science spectrum, as well as oil & gas, manufacturing, and defense contractors.
Understanding the intersection of technology and commercial business objectives, our lawyers team together to assist clients to protect against trade secret theft – we recommend being proactive about evaluations and audits and routinely install or upgrade our clients’ trade secret protection programs. For example, we evaluated a global Fortune 500 company’s trade secret protection program to identify risks and exposure and developed a multi-phase approach to attack the effort by geographic region, which involves a detailed review of policies, procedures, template agreements and facilities.
Bottom line – we believe there are many things companies can do to increase their ability to protect themselves against the theft of trade secrets – before an employee leaves the company and shares potentially confidential information with a competitor, and before a trusted partner decides to stop cooperating and compete unfairly instead.
As needed, we also have the IP and litigation savvy to handle trade secret controversy and litigation. Our recent trade secret cases include a dismissal during trial of a $1.37 billion lawsuit, and a 10-year exclusion order of a competitor's products by the International Trade Commission after a finding of misappropriation of trade secrets.
Our evaluation of existing trade secret programs usually includes the following actions:
- Identification and categorization of relevant trade secret information by type and location
- Determination and evaluation of applicable laws by geography for available protection and requirements or compliance concerns, including the Defend Trade Secrets Act of 2016 (DTSA) and state trade secrets laws, the Computer Fraud and Abuse Act, and the Stored Communications Act
- Review of existing agreements and contracts, including employee handbooks, employment agreements, consulting agreements, non-disclosure agreements and the like
- Audit of current practices and procedures, including recruiting and initiation of new employees, training of existing employees, exit interview of departing employees, access for visitors, and enforcement of known violations
- Inspection of selected facilities for appropriate physical measures and IT infrastructure security to protect against unauthorized access to and disclosure of trade secret information
- Development of recommendations based upon the results of this investigation for a corporate-wide intellectual property program, as well as site-specific protocols based upon applicable laws
Our full range of services include:
Trade Secret Counseling
- Trade secret protection programs
- Current employee training and management
- New and existing employee management
- M&A management
- Joint-venture management
- Technology and asset transfer management
- Investigating potential trade secret theft
- Forensic investigation and preservation
Trade Secret Controversy
- Investigating and responding to accusations of theft by 3rd parties
- Crisis management and coordination
- Reporting requirements: Government contractors and data breaches
- Criminal investigations: offensive and defensive
- Preliminary legal relief – TROs and PIs
- State and federal court litigation
- Internal communications and external PR management