Outsourced Manufacturing and Trade Secrets: Manufacturing Process & Personnel (Part 7)

Outsourced Manufacturing and Trade Secrets: Manufacturing Process & Personnel (Part 7) by David L. Cohen

After deciding on the basic corporate or contractual structure, the company should decide how best to strategically divide the manufacturing process. In the outsourced manufacturing context, the best process involves not only efficient manufacture, but also the most effective process to mitigate potential trade secret risks. Read more

Failure to Take “Reasonable Measures” to Protect Secrecy Precludes Trade Secret Protection

A few days ago, in a federal court in Chicago gave a manufacturer some tough love about trade secret law.  In the case, the long time president of a the plaintiff left to start a competing business and took a flash drive with him that included information about his former company’s pricing, customers, and suppliers.   The former president later hired another former employee to join him, and she too brought with her information from her former employer.  Some of this information was used “as a general reference point and a benchmark when determining” the new company’s needs and some of it was shared with the new company’s sales representatives, who were “instructed” to “target key” distributors of the plaintiff.

Sounds like a compelling trade secret claim for misappropriation likely to receive injunctive relief?

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Outsourced Manufacturing and Trade Secrets: Transaction Structure & Contract (Part 6)

Outsourced Manufacturing and Trade Secrets: Transaction Structure & Contract by David L. Cohen

Transaction Structure

Once the company selects a potential outsourced manufacturing partner, it should design a transaction structure that reinforces its commercial expectations and the manufacturer’s contractual obligations. Specifically, the company should structure the outsourced manufacturing transaction in a manner best suited to protect the company’s key intellectual assets (both registered IP and unregistered IP like trade secrets and know-how). Transaction structure considerations include both the particular corporate and contractual form of the relationship, and how the company will delegate the manufacturing process to the outsourced manufacturer. Read more

Tech’s Frightful Five and Their Allies Come to Brussels

Tech’s Frightful Five and their Allies Come to Brussels by David L. Cohen

Over the past 100 years corporate America has become quite sophisticated in how it lobbies the US Federal and State government and regulators.   While the messages being promoted may differ, lobbying for corporate interests as diverse as tobacco, sugar (and here), firearms, the environment, fossil fuels, health insurance (and here), financial regulation, and many other fields has become a major business in Washington and around the country.  Indeed, some have argued that the sheer scale of corporate lobbying has allowed it to conquer democracy in America.

It is no surprise, then that Tech’s Frightful Five (Apple, Alphabet/Google, Amazon, Facebook and Microsoft) have become masters of the lobbying game in America.

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Tech’s Frightful Five and Their Allies Come to Brussels

Tech’s Frightful Five and their Allies Come to Brussels by David L. Cohen

Over the past 100 years corporate America has become quite sophisticated in how it lobbies the US Federal and State government and regulators.   While the messages being promoted may differ, lobbying for corporate interests as diverse as tobacco, sugar (and here), firearms, the environment, fossil fuels, health insurance (and here), financial regulation, and many other fields has become a major business in Washington and around the country.  Indeed, some have argued that the sheer scale of corporate lobbying has allowed it to conquer democracy in America.

It is no surprise, then that Tech’s Frightful Five (Apple, Alphabet/Google, Amazon, Facebook and Microsoft) have become masters of the lobbying game in America.

Read more

Outsourced Manufacturing and Trade Secrets: Due Diligence (Part 5)

Outsourced Manufacturing and Trade Secrets: Due Diligence by David L. CohenPerhaps the single most important part of outsourced manufacturing is to select a trustworthy partner. A company should not enter into any transaction unless it has a good basis to believe that the manufacturer will be an acceptable partner. This requires rigorous due diligence, including:

  • Background checks of the manufacturer’s principal officers, directors, and key personnel.
  • Audits of the manufacturer’s financial statements.
  • Inspections of the manufacturer’s facilities.
  • Investigations of the manufacturer’s supply chain and trading partners.

Read more

HTC v. Ericsson verdict is out – Bad faith all around?

Interesting verdict.  The jury concluded that Ericsson did not breach its contractual obligations to offer HTC a license to its SEP portfolio.  However, the jury also found that BOTH Ericsson  and HTC breached their obligation to negotiate for that license in good faith.

Lots to think about.  More to come.

Here is the verdict form.

11775490-0--30828 HTC v Ericsson verdict form

Outsourced Manufacturing and Trade Secrets: Internal Controls (Part 4)

Outsourced Manufacturing and Trade Secrets: Internal Controls by David L. CohenWhen a company, for the soundest of business reasons, is exploring placing its crown jewels, its intellectual assets, in the hands of a third party, proper internal controls are vital.

A company’s internal controls may help to ensure proper:

  • Vetting and selection of the prospective manufacturer during the due diligence process.
  • Negotiation of the outsourced manufacturing relationship.
  • Management of the outsourced manufacturing transaction and relationship with the manufacturer.

Read more