Trade Secrets and Unfair Competition

Protecting confidential and proprietary business information, maintaining goodwill and safeguarding customer and employee relationships are all matters of utmost concern to businesses. The protection of trade secrets and other proprietary information is especially critical in a competitive, technologically advanced global economy.

Dechert’s intellectual property group handles trade secret, unfair competition and noncompete disputes in such highly competitive industries as software, high technology, medical devices, life sciences and financial services for entities ranging from unsophisticated start-ups to well-established publicly traded companies.

We offer a full range of services, including trade secret portfolio protection and dispute avoidance; pre-litigation counseling; cooperation, communication and coordination with enforcement authorities; and prosecution and defense of trade secret misappropriation, improper disclosure and unfair competition claims. We advise clients on how to respond to government requests for disclosure of trade secrets and propriety information and assist clients in developing safeguards and strategies to protect their confidential information against other forms of unwanted disclosure.

Recognizing the importance of quick action, our attorneys aggressively seek interim relief when necessary, whether in the form of a temporary restraining order (TRO), preliminary injunction or expedited discovery order (EDO). Our litigation strategies vary depending on where a lawsuit is filed. Having litigated trade secret and unfair competition disputes in hundreds of state and federal courts throughout the country, as well as in many foreign jurisdictions, we are well qualified to determine the appropriate course of action for a particular jurisdiction or venue.

Our litigation experience ranges from preemptive actions to avoid or mitigate the business disruption resulting from employee raiding, unfair solicitation of clients and breaches of noncompete or nondisclosure agreements to full-blown “bet the company” actions between competitors of all sizes. The matters we have handled have involved all forms of equitable relief, including augmented and punitive damages and “head-start” and permanent injunctions. Along with an ability to effectively convey the equitable nature of the issues presented, our lawyers excel at communicating scientific and technical information to lay audiences, have extensive experience in business tort law and keenly understand the interplay between legal intricacies and business realities.

While we stand ready to try cases, we work closely with clients to avoid litigation in the first instance by assisting them in developing and implementing systems for identifying their trade secrets and other confidential information, and policies and practices designed to prevent misappropriation and inadvertent disclosure.

Our trade secret counseling program also includes assisting clients in the preparation and negotiation of employment and separation agreements, proprietary information and inventions agreements, and confidentiality and nondisclosure agreements including with collaborators, suppliers and customers. We also assist clients in finding creative ways to strengthen their information systems.