Stites & Harbison has extensive experience in “trade secret” matters, from developing and implementing protection strategies for both start-up businesses and well-established companies to litigating when disputes arise. Our firm defends and prosecutes claims concerning trade secrets and the intellectual property rights of clients, often in connection with claims against departing directors, officers, and employees who compete with their former employers. Our firm has both sought to enforce and oppose covenants against competition.
Our group has defended clients in industry-wide "bid rigging," price fixing and Robinson-Patman Act claims, as well as dealer and distributor termination claims. We also participate in antitrust counseling, litigation and investigations.
Examples of this experience include:
- Conforma Clad. Recently, our firm assisted Conforma Clad (now part of Kennametal Inc.), a leading provider of severe wear solutions for engineered components, in the development and implementation of a comprehensive trade secret protection program. This program included the identification of trade secret information, and the development and enforcement of corporate policies and procedures designed to keep that information confidential and ensure it remains protected by trade secret laws. In addition, we have actively enforced confidentiality obligations of those individuals who have had access to Conforma Clad's trade secret information, including successfully seeking judicial relief.
- Emerson Electric Co. Stites & Harbison has served as regional counsel to Emerson Electric Co – a global powerhouse and one of the world's leading manufacturers – for years for the defense of defective product claims. Currently we represent Emerson Electric Co. and two of its wholly owned companies, Daniel Industries, Inc. and Daniel Measurement Services, Inc., in a case filed in West Virginia. The matter pertains to reciprocal allegations of breach of contract and trade secret misappropriation involving computer technology for the measurement of natural gas flow from remote locations.
When one seeks to protect one’s intellectual property, patents, trademarks and copyrights immediately come to mind. Often given short shrift is the "forgotten stepchild" —trade secrets. Trade secrets may encompass a wide range of business information that (a) has value because it is not generally known in the trade and (b) is subject to reasonable efforts to preserve its confidentiality. When considering trade secrets, “business information” should be given a very broad definition and may include, but is not necessarily limited to, processes, procedures, research projects, nonpublic company documents (relating to, for example, recruiting, accounting, financial information and legal information), drawings, blueprints, laboratory notebooks, test data, training manuals, customer information and supplier information.
Hyatt Regency Houston, 1200 Louisiana Street, Houston, Texas 77002
Atlanta office attorney T.J. Mihill will be a speaker at this conference being held in Houston, Texas, March 21-23, 2022.