At first blush an audit sounds expensive, distracting and unnecessary. Let’s face it, we live in the age of the long tail. Over the past few years, things people would have previously given only a remote chance of coming to pass seem to be happening on a regular basis. What’s more, the pace of change and disruption in business and in the personal world is so great, it is almost impossible to keep up. It seems that whatever you are doing today will have to be radically altered very soon. With all this change most of us are running just to stay in place — so any distraction from the daily chores of simply keeping up needs a powerful justification. I would argue however, that the frenetic pace of business life is precisely why audits are so important. Just as mindfulness is rightly understood as being key to a centered life, trade secret audits are essential to continued success as a business. Read more
As we have discussed elsewhere, a trade secret audit or assessment is vital if a company is to protect itself during the outsourced manufacturing process. [See these articles: Trade Secret Audits – Why Bother? ; You’ve Decided to Conduct a Trade Secret Audit. Now What?; You’ve Decided to Conduct a Trade Secret Audit. Now What? Part 2 ] Read more
Donal O’Connell and I are very pleased to announce that Practical Law of Westlaw / Thomson Reuters has published a Practice Note of ours related to trade secret valuation. Click below to view the Practice Note in its entirety.Trade Secret Valuation (W-019-2083)
Donal O’Connell and I are very pleased to announce that Practical Law of Westlaw / Thomson Reuters has published a Practice Note of ours related to trade secret audits. Click below to view the Practice Note in its entirety.Trade Secret Audits
Last time, I discussed outsourced manufacturing as well as the process and personnel. Now, I continue the discussion by exploring control over transactions and products as it relates to IP protection.
Establishing and Maintaining Oversight
Requiring the manufacturer to maintain a designated facility for all work involving the transaction can reduce the risk of violations and simplify the monitoring and protection of the company’s IP. In all cases, the company should reserve the right to frequently audit the manufacturer’s facilities. If possible, the scope of these audit rights should extend enterprise-wide to ensure protection and containment of critical information. Read more
After a period of skeptical acquiescence, anti-trust regulators seem to have come around and embraced patent pools for standard essential patents (SEPs.) The European Commission, no slouch when it comes to regulating SEPs, even remarked that the creation of patent pools “should be encouraged.” Indeed, one recent study purporting to be the first to empirically analyze the costs and benefits of patent pools estimates that pools save licensees hundreds of millions of dollars in transaction costs.
Notwithstanding the EC’s encouragement, anti-patent advocates, Google & Apple Unified Patents, has decided to engage in a social media and costly litigation campaign to kneecap two high efficiency video coding or HEVC patent pools. Filing 3 IPRs and 10 IPRs against patents belonging to HEVC Advance and Velos, respectively. At a cost of between $300,000 to $600,000 per IPR, these IPRs cannot come cheap – even if much of the work is done in-house. Accordingly, it is worth asking why is Unified trolling HEVC Advance and Velos, especially since there has yet to be any litigation by the owners of the HEVC patents that were IPR’ed.
After deciding on the basic corporate or contractual structure, the company should decide how best to strategically divide the manufacturing process. In the outsourced manufacturing context, the best process involves not only efficient manufacture, but also the most effective process to mitigate potential trade secret risks. Read more
A few days ago, in a federal court in Chicago gave a manufacturer some tough love about trade secret law. In the case, the long time president of a the plaintiff left to start a competing business and took a flash drive with him that included information about his former company’s pricing, customers, and suppliers. The former president later hired another former employee to join him, and she too brought with her information from her former employer. Some of this information was used “as a general reference point and a benchmark when determining” the new company’s needs and some of it was shared with the new company’s sales representatives, who were “instructed” to “target key” distributors of the plaintiff.
Sounds like a compelling trade secret claim for misappropriation likely to receive injunctive relief?
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