July 2012

Can an employer prevent a former employee from working for a competitor in the absence of a non-compete agreement and with no evidence the employee has violated the former employer’s trade secret or confidentiality rights?  You would think not, but a couple of cases — infamous in the annals of non-compete law  — have imposed a non-compete in these circumstances.  The case cited most frequently on this issue is PepsiCo v. Redmond, a 1995 case in which the 7th Circuit affirmed a preliminary injunction ordering the former employee of PepsiCo to cease working for a competitor for six months, despite the fact that the employee did not have a non-compete agreement.  Another high profile case prohibiting an employee from working for a competitor, even in the absence of a non-compete agreement, is Bimbo Bakeries USA, Inc. v. Botticella, decided by the 3rd Circuit in 2010. In these cases the employee does have non-disclosure/trade secret agreements.  … Read the full article

Judge Posner Puts the Kabosh on Apple/Google Smartphone Patent Suit

“It’s not clear that we really need patents in most industries . . .. You just have this proliferation of patents. “It’s a problem.”

Judge Richard Posner, Silicon Valley MercuryNews.com, July 5, 2012

 

Do you recall the final scene in Monty Python and the Holy Grail?  After 90 minutes of farcical medieval/King Arthur-inspired humor the film concludes with a big attack scene (cliché visuals of swords, spears and knights in armor, opposing armies lined up in a field, battle music ….).  King Arthur makes a Crusades-inspired speech and yells charge.  Just as the armies are about to engage a police car pulls up with siren blaring.  20th century British bobbies jump out and arrest some of the knights, who put up no resistance.  Others are simply told to go home.  The war is cancelled.  (video).

This is not very different from what just happened in the patent war between Apple and Motorola Mobility (owned by Google) over smartphone patents.  … Read the full article