Trade Secret Protection & Enforcement

Sterne Kessler has decades of experience counseling clients on trade secret protection related to technology, in addition to litigating trade secret claims in U.S. state and federal courts as well as before the International Trade Commission. We have a multi-disciplinary team of trial litigators and patent attorneys with extensive technical backgrounds to proactively help clients maximize trade secret assets through tailored protection policies, and enforce and defend against trade secret and unfair competition claims.

Trade secrets are vital assets that can produce significant value for a business. A trade secret protection strategy is critical for a company to maintain a competitive advantage in today’s global marketplace. Public disclosure of trade secrets can do irreparable harm, including the loss of potential patent protection for important innovations and competitive hurdles if a third party obtains patent protection on your trade secrets.

Trade Secret Protection and Strategic Counsel

Sterne Kessler provides strategic counsel to innovative companies seeking to develop comprehensive IP strategies that include trade secret protection. Trade secret protection can apply to proprietary technology, manufacturing processes, designs, formulas, and source codes. This confidential technical and commercial information has economic value that is integral to a company’s business operations and market share. We work closely with our clients’ business, legal, and technical teams to tailor trade secret protection policies that meet the needs and demands of their industry. We also help clients evaluate the benefits of trade secret protection and whether their needs are better served by patent, trademark, or copyright protection. Our clients span nearly every industry, including electronics, automotive, life sciences, consumer products, and manufacturing, amongst others.

We also help our clients mitigate the risk of trade secret theft or misappropriation through proactive protection and security policies. We work with clients to enhance internal policies and procedures and review contract terms and non-disclosure agreements with vendors, suppliers, joint development partners, and current and former employees. We regularly provide training for lawyers and business personnel on trade secret principles and ways to monitor trade secrets and flag areas of vulnerability. In addition, our team has helped many companies develop outside submission policies that protect you from spurious allegations of unfair competition or trade secret misappropriation.

Trade Secret Enforcement and Litigation

When alleged theft or misappropriation of trade secrets occurs, our experienced team is ready to protect and defend our clients’ business interests. Whether our client is investigating a trade secret matter or finds itself the subject of an investigation, we are able to mobilize quickly to assess and develop a strategy to resolve the matter. While we often try to resolve trade secret claims through dispositive motions or favorable settlements, we also have experience taking complex cases to trial. Our technical bench is a strategic advantage for our clients in these cases—we leverage our team of 100+ advanced degrees, including 60+ Ph.D.s, in science and engineering disciplines to quickly grasp complex technologies at issue in a case and effectively explain complex technology and IP legal concepts to judges and juries in a way that increases the likelihood of a favorable outcome.

Representative Experience

  • Pharmazam, LLC v. Thermo Fisher Scientific, Inc. (M.D. Fla.) – Represented Thermo Fisher Scientific in an allegations relating to trade secret misappropriation. Plaintiff voluntarily dismissed complaint after Sterne Kessler filed a motion to dismiss for failure to state a claim.
  • Sonatype, Inc. Takari, Inc. (D. Md.) – Filed a complaint alleging that the company’s founder misappropriated, copied, and wrongfully disclosed Sonatype’s intellectual property and trade secrets after separating from the company. Sterne Kessler achieved a favorable settlement shortly after filing the complaint.
  • Confidential matter. Represented a pharmaceutical company in a trade secret dispute related to the misappropriation of trade secret information involving a former business development partner. Former development partner used confidential business information in an effort to extort a license to certain intellectual property. Conducted an internal investigation that led to evidence of misappropriation. Negotiated a favorable resolution for our client.
  • Confidential matter. Represented a biotechnology client in a dispute with a former founder and chief scientific officer. Conducted an internal investigation that led to evidence of breaches of the former founder’s employment and separation agreements.  Negotiated a favorable resolution for our client.

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