“I am humbled and honored to be selected for this honor by my peers” said Kathleen Finnerty after learning that she had just been voted one of the Top Trade Secret Lawyers in the Sacramento Region! Kathleen has successfully handled more than a dozen trade secret cases across California and the nation involving customer lists, marketing strategies, product development and even competitor espionage in her over 30 years of litigation practice. “She is one of the most talented lawyers I have ever met” said Mike Stapleton, her co-counsel on a bet-the-company software case in Indiana several years ago. “She is super smart, tenacious and yet practical”, says one of her long time clients.
Trade secret cases are complex, fast paced and require extensive strategic planning before and during the litigation. As the adage goes, if you don’t know where you are going, you cannot develop the path to your destination. Because trade secret misappropriation cases involve critical intellectual property assets, it is crucial to develop the case strategy before the case is filed. The lawyer and the client must discuss in detail the precise objective of the litigation – it involved far more than just halting the bad actors. Precisely what is it that needs to be protected, what is in the public domain, what is not protectable as a matter of law, and what will have to be disclosed to define the trade secrets as a matter of law? Thoughtful planning of every step of the case fosters a laser focused approach, with less cost, fewer surprises and a greater likelihood of winning.
THERE ARE THINGS YOU CAN DO TO PROTECT YOUR COMPANY.
First and foremost, your company must have undertaken reasonable steps to protect its own trade secrets. That involves internal policies, potentially non-compete agreements, computer security policies, and facility security policies, all of which must be consistently enforced.
Second, if you suspect that a trade secret has been stolen, you must promptly and properly preserve the electronic evidence.
Third, a proper forensic analysis must be done by a competent computer forensics expert – otherwise, the evidence will never be admitted in Court.
Fourth, the company and its lawyer must determine if there is sufficient evidence to obtain a temporary restraining order and preliminary injunction. A successful temporary restraining order can often resolve the case!
Fifth, if litigation proceeds, you must determine precisely what aspects of the trade secret will be disclosed, what can be withheld, and how to establish the best protective order possible.
Countless other factors go into a trade secret litigation case. Only the knowledgable and experienced should venture into such waters.