Posts Tagged: "NDA"

CAFC Says Forum Selection Clause in NDA Does Not Apply to Inter Partes Review

The U.S. Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit (CAFC) today held in a precedential decision authored by Judge Chen that a non-disclosure agreement’s (NDA’s) forum selection clause barring lawsuits to be brought outside of the New York court system did not apply to inter partes review (IPR) proceedings at the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office’s Patent Trial and Appeal Board (PTAB). Judge Newman dissented. Kannuu Pty Ltd. appealed to the CAFC asking that the court compel Samsung Electronics to seek dismissal of its instituted IPR proceedings at the PTAB seeking to invalidate Kannuu’s patents. Kannuu’s appeal was based on the terms of an NDA entered into between the companies during business negotiations in 2012.

Top Secret: How to Successfully Build a Trade Secrets Case

When an employee who has left a company to work for a competitor shares a coveted trade secret, his or her former employer can experience devastating effects, including lost business and reputational damage. As a result, the former employer may want to file a lawsuit; and to stop the former employee and the competitor from using the proprietary information while the suit is pending, the employer can also seek preliminary injunctive relief. Preliminary injunctive relief requires an evidentiary showing that the former employer is suffering irreparable harm. That is, harm that cannot be remedied with money damages. The former employer must also show a likelihood that the employer will prevail on its claim against the former employee. As such, the former employer must develop preliminary evidence that the information taken is a secret that is not readily ascertainable from public sources, that the employer took reasonable precautions to protect the information from disclosure, that the former employee took the information without authority and is using the information or has disclosed the information to others. If successful, the former employee, and those acting in concert with the former employee, will be enjoined from using the former employer’s information while the litigation proceeds. As such, seeking and obtaining preliminary injunctive relief can, and is often, an important milestone in a trade secret case.

Federal Circuit Affirms District Court’s Finding of Validity of Claims Directed to Aveed®

When relying on scientific guidelines to support an obviousness rationale, practitioners should offer evidence for why contradictory guidelines should be discounted. A claimed constituent is not “necessarily present” if the prior art reference lists several alternative constituents and a skilled artisan could not reasonably deduce that the authors of the prior art reference used the claimed constituent.

Petitioner Has Standing to Appeal PTAB Decision Where Litigation is Inevitable

Altaire filed two complaints against Paragon: (1) alleging a breach of the non-disclosure clause of the Agreement, and (2) seeking declaratory judgment that the ‘623 patent was invalid. Paragon, in turn, alleged a material breach of the same clause and sought the termination of the Agreement. Altaire also sought post-grant review of the ‘623 patent, arguing that the patent was obvious over two production lots of its products. After the PTAB issued a final written decision determining that Altaire failed to prove that the asserted claims were obvious, Altaire appealed. The Federal Circuit reversed-in-part, vacated-in-part, and remanded for further proceedings. Circuit Judge Schall disagreed.

What is a Confidentiality Agreement and Why are they So Important?

A Confidentiality Agreement, which is also known as non-disclosure agreement or simply as an NDA, is simply a contract between two or more parties where the subject of the agreement is a promise that information conveyed will be maintained in secrecy… These types of agreements are particularly useful when one is disclosing information that is valuable so long as secrecy is maintained (i.e., a trade secret), which can include both invention related information and business related information.

Specific Personal Jurisdiction Requires ‘Substantial’ not ‘Attenuated’ Forum Contacts

NexLearn sued Allen in district court, alleging patent infringement and breach of contract, based on a nondisclosure agreement (NDA) that allowed Allen to use a trial version of NexLearn’s software product… An interactive website that invites a sale into a forum, when no such sale has occurred, is not evidence of minimum contacts to demonstrate the defendant purposefully availed itself of the forum state. A substantial connection with a forum, not an attenuated affiliation, is required for specific personal jurisdiction.

Revisiting the Standard NDA After ZeniMax v. Oculus

ZeniMax offers useful insights for enterprises seeking to maximize the benefits of NDAs while minimizing the time and effort needed to negotiate them… Most technology enterprises are well-acquainted with NDAs. On the positive side, they recognize the importance of entering into NDAs with outside parties before disclosing confidential information, whether in the context of discussions related to potential commercial transactions, funding, or joint R&D projects, or for other purposes, such as to support product-related investigations or certification activities. On the negative side, enterprises commonly associate the negotiation of NDAs with cumbersome paperwork, obstacles, and delay.

Texas jury awards $500 million in copyright and trade secret case against Facebook’s Oculus VR

On Wednesday, February 1st, a jury in the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Texas (N.D. Tex.) entered a case verdict which orders virtual reality developer Oculus VR to pay $500 million to Rockville, MD-based interactive computing firm ZeniMax Media Inc. The verdict is the latest activity in a case involving allegations of copyright infringement and trade secret misappropriation levied against Oculus, now a subsidiary of social media giant Facebook Inc. (NASDAQ:FB) of Menlo Park, CA.

What is a Trade Secret?

A trade secret is defined as any valuable business information that is not generally known and is subject to reasonable efforts to preserve confidentiality. Generally speaking, a trade secret will be protected from exploitation by those who either obtain access through improper means, those who obtain the information from one who they know or should have known gained access through improper means, or those who breach a promise to keep the information confidential. While virtually every business has at least some trade secrets, they are quite fragile because they protect information and resources that are secret, which necessarily means that protection is lost if and when the secret becomes publicly known. For that reason, when other forms of intellectual property protection are available, such as copyright or patent protection, one should carefully consider the wisdom of relying only on trade secret protection.

A Provocative Idea That Turns Out to be Wrong

A very troublesome flaw in Talent Wants to be Free is that the author frequently conflates non-compete agreements with two other very common forms of employee restraints: confidentiality (or nondisclosure) agreements and invention assignments. As most practitioners can readily appreciate, there is a world of difference between the first one and the other two, and they typically are not joined in a single document. Non-competes stop someone from taking a job with a competitor, and their use is restricted in many places and illegal in a few, like California.

The High Cost of Making Pharmaceuticals

It is nearly universally accepted (and for a reason) that the process from discovery to market is long and costly. Drugs to not invent themselves and there are significant costs associated with nearly 13 to 14 years awaiting approvals. But even that really doesn’t capture what transpires in reality. Pharmaceutical companies do not just passively wait for approval, they are required to take significant and costly affirmative steps. So the critics can do all the mathematical trickeration they want, they can bemoan tax incentives not being taking into account and further complain about pharmaceutical companies partnering with Universities to discover the next generation of life saving and life prolonging drugs. But if you are going to factor into the analysis tax incentives then you absolutely need to factor in the time-value of money into the equation, as well as the astronomical failure rate, which creates extraordinary risk.

12 Year-End Considerations for Non-Disclosure Agreements

As the year quickly comes to a close, I recently engaged in some file cleanup. During this cleanup, it struck me that the most common type of agreement – by far – I worked on for my clients in the past year was the Non-Disclosure Agreement (NDA). While NDAs are no doubt considered “routine” or “standard” by practitioners and business clients alike, I suggest that each time you engage in the drafting and negotiating of one in the New Year, you actually question the forms you normally use by considering…

Justified Paranoia: Confidentiality Before and After Patent Filings

Just because getting a confidentiality agreement is difficult doesn’t mean that you shouldn’t try. There are those out there that are used to signing confidentiality agreements, such as manufacturers and engineers who you might need to work with to create engineering drawings or a prototype. Whenever you are showing your invention to someone within your industry or to those who would have the technical knowledge and ability to move forward with your invention without you, a confidentiality agreement is both essential and more likely to be obtained. Just don’t expect investors or potential licensees to be all that interested in signing a confidentiality agreement , at least at first. However, if they like what they hear it is not unheard of that at some point they might be willing to sign a confidentiality agreement. So there is many times a delicate dance where you show a little to entice the reluctant signer of the confidentiality agreement. As interest builds they may become more willing to sign.

Supremes Say Reverse Payments May Be Antitrust Violation

On Monday, June 17, 2013, the United States Supreme Court issued its much-anticipated decision on so-called “reverse payments.” This decision will impact how brand name drug companies and generics enter into patent settlements to resolve pending patent litigation. In a nutshell, speaking for the majority, Justice Breyer wrote that there is no valid reason for the FTC to be denied the opportunity to pursue reverse payments as an antitrust violation. Breyer, who was joined by Justices Kennedy, Ginsberg, Kagan, and Sotomayor, determined that reviewing courts should apply the rule of reason when determining whether reverse payments violate antitrust law.

Paranoia Power: Confidentiality Before and After Patent Filings

Inventions can be patented, but if you start telling others about your invention they could make and use your invention, which has immediate negative consequences for the patenting of the invention. Outside the United States most countries follow an absolute novelty standard, which means you need a patent application on file before any public activity associated with the invention. In the United States you would need to file a patent application within 12 months of public activity, such as a public use or offer for sale. Timing can be critical and keeping your mouth shut a very good strategy. But how much paranoia is too much paranoia?