Trade Secrets and Employee Mobility

Trade Secrets and Employee Mobility 

Trade secret law can be a complicated area of the law with many nuances. Trade secret manipulation, misuse, misappropriation and theft and the litigation that arises from it has exploded in recent years as the world has become ever more dependent on high technology.


Handling these fast-paced and immediacy driven disputes, when often times the client’s business is hanging in the balance, requires experience, anticipation and advanced preparation.  We have extensive knowledge and experience in this area of the law and a proven track record of successful outcomes for our clients. Our trade secret attorneys have advised and represented many companies, entrepreneurs, investors, and start-up founders in the area of trade secrets and employee mobility and do so on a daily basis.

Trade secret law and employee mobility law differs, quite dramatically, from state to state. Accordingly, clients typically must apply different policies, use different contracts, and plan risks differently when they have multi-state operations.

We focus our practice of law in this area to primarily to the following topics:

Trade Secret Law

We routinely advise clients on issues including trade secret identification, inevitable disclosure, and threatened misappropriation.

Restrictive Covenants

Depending on the jurisdiction, non-competition covenants and non-solicitation covenants can be an important part of the legal landscape for litigants and mobile employees. Understanding the risks when hiring employees from a particular state, and understanding one’s rights with respect to departing employees located in different states, and we render advice in this regard to our clients on a regular basis. 

Preparations to Compete and Fiduciary Duty

Fiduciary status can transform the risks when employees plan to leave and form a new business, posing important legal questions for employers, departing fiduciaries, and those who hire them. We routinely advise clients regarding what the law permits and prohibits when this occurs.

NDA Disputes Between Businesses

Not every trade secret law dispute involves mobile employees. We frequently have advised clients where business partnerships come apart and the parties dispute ownership of their work together.

Investment and Deal Diligence

When investors consider funding a new start-up, when a small company needs to present its best face to venture capitalists, or when companies consider a merger or acquisition, conducting diligence on trade secret issues is often a necessary component. We have experience in undertaking deal diligence in this respect and advising our clients accordingly.


Our Counseling Services


For Early-Stage Enterprises

Implementing comprehensive and sound trade secret protection policies is especially critical for new and emerging companies. Our trade secrets attorneys work with our clients to help their new companies reduce their IP risks right from the start. As new companies identify and attract much-needed talent, we counsel clients on how to avoid claims arising from restrictive covenants, theft of trade secrets, breach of fiduciary duty or the duty of loyalty, and unfair competition.

For Established Enterprises

We advise established companies on such issues as protection of trade secrets, potential disclosures by their business partners or current or departing employees, and lawful methods of hiring talent from other companies to avoid claims of misappropriation and to minimize potential damages. We also assist clients with concerns regarding unusual employee losses or defections due to perceived unfair competition or other unlawful practices. 

For Individuals

An entrepreneur’s departure from his or her current employer to create a new venture potentially raises several risks. Careful attention to the timing of one’s departure and the formation of a new company helps reduce these risks. We often times advise our individual clients on these and other related issues.

For Investors

We help venture capitalists, private equity funds, and other investors assess the trade secret, employee mobility, or other IP risks that may be present in a potential investment or acquisition. 

Since our inception, Smith Hurst has worked with a prominent regional litigator in successfully handling multiple trade secret, employee mobility, and unfair competition cases for our clients with successful results across the board.


Our team shares an attitude of excellence while
helping our clients achieve their business and personal goals.