Intellectual Property Owners Association

Serving the Global Intellectual Property Community


IP Chat Channel – Trade Secrets/Employment

Webinars are listed in chronological order with the most recent at the top of the page.
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Inevitable Disclosure, the DTSA, and Avoiding Contamination

Webinar Date: 07/27/2017

The year-old federal Defend Trade Secrets Act (DTSA) expressly disavows the doctrine of “inevitable disclosure” in the context of injunctive relief. But trade secrets litigators now have an indication how that doctrine — under which a former employer can prove that a defendant’s new employment will inevitably lead him or her to rely on the former employer’s secret — will play out more generally under the DTSA.

In May, in Molon v. Nidec in the Northern District of Illinois, a federal district court for the first time considered inevitable disclosure under the DTSA, letting it survive a motion to dismiss in the context of pleading. Our panelists, two experienced trade secret litigators and an in-house counsel, will discuss the future of inevitable disclosure and the related notion of “threatened misappropriation” under the DTSA, and how that will relate to the long-standing patchwork of state laws on the issue.

They also will consider more generally the risks involved in hiring an employee from a competitor and how to mitigate them. Recent highly-publicized trade secrets cases in competitive industries illustrate the dangers of situations in which the best new employee, the one with the most relevant experience, worked for a competitor. The new employer can take steps, starting with job advertising and recruitment, that show sensitivity to the danger of leaning on the new employee’s “relevant experience” — if that means projects and products — from the former employer.


  • Bret Cohen, Nelson Mullins Riley & Scarborough LLP
  • Kenneth Corsello, IBM Corp.
  • James Pooley, Orrick, Herrington & Sutcliffe

DTSA: One Year In

Webinar Date: 05/02/2017

The federal law protecting trade secrets is celebrating its first birthday, and this webinar will give an update on how the Defend Trade Secrets Act has evolved in practice. Our panel — an in-house IP counsel at a technology company, a trade secrets litigator, and an employment law litigator — will disclose and analyze the record so far, give advice, and make predictions. Among the topics to be discussed are:

  • Pleading requirements under the DTSA;
  • Definition of trade secret and misappropriation;
  • Sealing of complaints;
  • Preliminary injunctions and TROs;
  • Seizure;
  • How are the parallel systems of state and federal law working out in practice?
  • Is the DTSA the best tool against international trade secret theft?
  • Are employers implementing the mandatory disclosure of employee rights in confidentiality agreements?
  • Have whistleblowers used the immunity provisions?


  • Ken Corsello, IBM Corp.
  • Randy Kay, Jones Day
  • Bradford Newman, Paul Hastings LLP

New EU Trade Secrets Directive: What Does It Mean for IP Owners?

Webinar Date: 06/09/2016

Europe has historically had a patchwork of differing trade secret laws, with some countries having no remedies for the theft of proprietary trade secrets, and many others providing only criminal— but not civil—remedies. So it’s big news that on May 27 the EU Council unanimously adopted the EU Trade Secrets Directive that provides minimum standards for trade secret protection. The 28 Member States have until 2018 to implement the provisions.

This European move comes a mere month after passage of the U.S. Defend Trade Secrets Act, which for the first time provides a federal civil remedy for the misappropriation of trade secrets. Our panelists will discuss and compare the two regimes and give advice on what their implementation means for U.S. companies. Topics to be discussed include “long-arm” provisions, which make it unlawful for a person who was aware or should have been aware of a trade secret theft to offer for sale infringing goods, and could offer a way to ban imports; protections for whistleblowers; and procedures to keep trade secrets private during enforcement and litigation.


Audra Dial, Kilpatrick Townsend & Stockton LLP
James Pooley, James Pooley PLC
Mark Ridgway, Allen & Overy LLP

Federal Trade Secret Law: Getting It Right Early

Webinar Date: 05/05/2016

In a few days President Obama is expected to sign into law the Defend Trade Secrets Act of 2016, which for the first time provides a federal civil remedy for the misappropriation of trade secrets. The passage of this legislation by a usually-divided Congress underlines the importance of this IP protection to U.S. business and puts trade secrets on an equal federal footing with patents, trademarks, and copyrights.

This webinar will focus on how attorneys can get off to a good start and avoid mistakes under the new law when representing both aggrieved secret holders and clients who are accused of stealing secrets. Among the issues discussed:

  • When might a claim under state law still be the best option?
  • What jurisdictional questions will arise if there are state and federal cases over the same issues?
  • What will be best practices after the DTSA’s rejection of the “inevitable disclosure” doctrine?
  • How will damages under the law be proved?
  • What changes are employers now required to make to written employment policies and nondisclosure agreements?

Our panelists include trade secret litigators — one who also leads patent litigation and the other with an employment law background – and an in-house counsel at a technology multinational who has experience in trade secret matters.

Ken Corsello, IBM
Bradford Newman, Paul Hastings
Randy Kay, Jones Day

Insider Threat: Employee Mobility and Trade Secrets

Webinar Date: 01/20/2016

Litigation against former insiders accounts for a significant amount of all trade secret cases. However, these disputes are difficult to win. Our panel will discuss best practices for safeguarding trade secret and other confidential corporate information from appropriation by employees, as well as contractors, and consultants.

A litigator will highlight how not meeting this high bar will cause a plaintiff’s case to fail. An employment law specialist will discuss emerging issues in non-compete agreements, such as the need to give current employees a bonus or profit-sharing consideration in exchange for signing a tougher non-compete. And an in-house counsel of a global technology company that will discuss survival in a world without non-competes. Our panel will also consider the flip side of the issue: best practices for avoiding a lawsuit when hiring an employee from a competitor.


Clifford Atlas, Jackson Lewis
Buckmaster De Wolf, General Electric Co.
Randall Kay, Jones Day

Patents vs. Trade Secrets: Not “Could You Patent?”, But “Should You?”

Webinar Date: 08/11/2011

Many recent developments in patent law, including the KSR and Bilski decisions, and possible threats to patent eligibility such as the Myriad case, highlight the need to hedge against a patent application being rejected by the USPTO or a patent being invalidated in litigation. This webinar will focus on how to decide between trade secret protection vs. patent protection both at the very beginning of the innovation process and throughout product development. The panelists will discuss how to maintain some aspects of an invention as secret while complying with the enablement and best mode requirements of patent law. They will also consider the option of filing a patent application that will not be published 18 months after filing with the USPTO and discuss how companies can “build in” inherent trade secrecy protection as they engineer their products.

Panelists include the head of IP at an international automaker, an IP counsel at a publicly-traded biotech company, and a trade secrets litigator who counsels clients on strategic IP planning.


William J. Coughlin, Ford Global Technologies LLC
Thomas Gillespie, Emergent BioSolutions
Stuart Meyer, Fenwick & West LLP