Trade secrets have never been a more important form of business asset. By their nature, and particularly in the digital age, they are uniquely vulnerable to theft and misuse. At the same time, the strong protections afforded trade secrets under state and federal law allow bad actors to weaponize trade secret protections against competitors and former employees. These disputes often involve alleged violations of non-competition agreements, other restrictive covenants (such as client non-solicit agreements), or confidentiality agreements, or of a trusted employee’s fiduciary duties to their employer, all of which touch on a rapidly changing area of law.

Pierce Atwood’s interdisciplinary trade secret, data theft and unfair competition practice litigates these disputes for publicly traded and emerging technology companies, institutional clients, and individuals alike in state and federal courts around New England and across the country. Our lawyers draw on a combination of technical expertise and “in the trenches” litigation experience.

Recent accomplishments include:

  • Dissolving an ex parte attachment obtained by the former business partner of a client on claims include trade secret misappropriation. We demonstrated that no trade secrets were utilized in the relevant line of business, resulting in essentially all of our client’s funds being unfrozen.
  • Obtaining the first ever preliminary injunction by a Maine federal court under the federal Defend Trade Secrets Act. On behalf of our client, a Maine software and engineering company, we used a digital forensic expert to show that our client’s former employee likely downloaded thousands of digital files, including propriety software source code, just prior to the employee’s separation from the company.
  • Defeating a motion for preliminary injunction in Maine federal court under the federal Defend Trade Secrets Act. On behalf of our client, the former employee of a marketing company, we used a digital forensic expert to show that our client likely did not download files from his former employer.
  • Obtaining a preliminary injunction and permanent injunction under the federal Defend Trade Secrets Act and Massachusetts Uniform Trade Secrets Act in a Massachusetts federal court. We obtained a judgment which not only enjoined a former sales executive of a high-tech industrial manufacturing company from disclosing or using client’s confidential customer lists and sales/marketing information, but also required a protocol for a forensic expert to search for and delete proprietary data on the defendant’s devices.
  • Successfully defending a Massachusetts software company from misappropriation of trade secrets, copyright infringement, and breach of confidentiality agreement claims by a former vendor partner which had shared a software development kit (SDK) under a license agreement. Obtained a trial verdict in favor of our client on these claims in a Massachusetts federal court after an expedited trial on the merits which involved expert analysis and comparison of source code at issue.
  • Successfully defended a cloud computing/data distribution company against trade secret misappropriation/employee lift-out claims in New York.
  • Successfully defended a Massachusetts biotech firm from trade secret misappropriation/employee lift-out claims in Massachusetts.
  • Successfully prosecuted an NYSE-listed company’s claims against a former employee who had accessed the company’s computer system and downloaded confidential and proprietary data. We immediately and successfully moved for leave to seize the former employee's computer files and hard drives at his then current employer.
  • Successfully sought a preliminary injunction in Massachusetts Federal Court compelling the return of a NASDAQ-listed client’s confidential and trade secret technical, market and client data from former employees who had left to start a competing venture.