Trade Secrets & Competitive Hiring

Overview

With new opportunities from rapidly evolving technology and the mass adoption of remote work during the COVID-19 pandemic, your company’s top talent, trade secrets, and confidential business information have never been more critical—and more vulnerable—business assets.

Whether navigating the risks of carefully and safely recruiting talented executives from competitors, retaining your own talent, or protecting vital trade secrets from escaping with departing employees, Blank Rome’s unmatched trade secrets & competitive hiring practice has helped clients across a myriad of industries achieve their business objectives and take advantage of new opportunities.

We take a holistic approach that identifies our clients’ business goals at the outset, and then craft a specific legal strategy that draws upon our skills as practical negotiators, aggressive advocates, and seasoned trial attorneys. Our attorneys seek to preempt problems in order to minimize expense and avoid disruption to your business. Should litigation be necessary, we will not hesitate to aggressively pursue your case in court, from the temporary restraining order hearing to resolution at trial.

What Sets Us Apart

  • Ranked Tier 1 in 2021 U.S. News & World Report–Best Lawyers® (Woodward/White, Inc.) nationally and Philadelphia for Employee Benefits (ERISA) Law. Also ranked nationally for Employment Law - Management, Litigation - Labor & Employment, and Litigation - Labor & Employment, and regionally for Employee Benefits (ERISA) Law, Employment Law - Management, and Litigation - Labor & Employment.
  • 2019 Chambers USA: ranked Blank Rome for labor and employment in Pennsylvania. Editors write that Blank Rome’s Labor and Employment practice:
    • “Maintains a strong profile for its handling of complex trade secrets and restrictive covenant disputes. Also offers experience across labor law matters such as contract negotiation and unfair labor practice disputes. Fields notable expertise in public and private sector employee benefits matters and executive compensation issues.”
    • “‘They can think two to three steps ahead, and while they are excellent regarding the meat and potatoes of the day-to-day law and legal framework, they are even better at thinking practically and logically as to how situations and scenarios will likely resolve.’”
    • “‘The team is very engaged. They communicate well and have years of working together, which enables efficiencies.’”
  • We invest in long-term relationships and create client service teams to ensure effective and efficient delivery of legal services.
  • We place an emphasis on preventive measures to preempt problems before they arise.
  • We provide value-added services to our clients, including in-house training programs, CLE programs, legal briefings, and newsletters.

How We Can Help

We offer the following comprehensive services to companies seeking to cultivate a competitive advantage, including hiring or acquiring top talent through an acquisition; drafting new agreements to protect business relationships and confidential information; and litigating emergency injunctions to protect companies from the theft of customer or client information.

Protecting Business Interests by Contract
  • Drafting agreements designed to comport with business culture, applicable market expectations, and talent strategy, including confidentiality, non-competition, customer non-solicitation, and employee non-solicitation provisions.
  • Advising on strategies for updating non-compete provisions consistent with applicable laws.
  • Monitoring legislation regarding non-competes, which have recently been targeted by state legislatures, and assist in lobbying efforts where clients are pursuing that strategy.
  • Drafting bespoke restrictive covenants for employment agreements as well as any employment or IT policy or procedure that should be adjusted to protect legitimate business interests.
Negotiating and Litigating Non-Competes in Corporate Deals
  • Providing critical niche advice in drafting and negotiating terms of restrictive covenants in corporate deals.
  • Handling cutting-edge transactions involving the sale of talent (i.e., employment agreements).
  • Ensuring protection of post-closing rights through use of contractual provisions.
  • Advising on and litigating non-competes entered into in connection with the sale of a business, representing both plaintiffs and defense.
Hiring from Competitors—Strategy and Planning
  • Reviewing and analyzing incoming candidates’ restrictive covenants and obligations to the former employer, and assessing the risks of proceeding with hire.
  • Drafting provisions in offer letters, employment contracts, or hiring protocol to ensure the new employee’s compliance with their post-employment obligations.
  • Consulting on timing and strategy of new employee resignation.
  • Advising HR, management team, and new employee regarding compliance with ongoing obligations.
  • Supervising trusted third-party digital forensics experts to assist in assessing and resolving any ongoing issues the new employee has with respect to confidential information of the former employer.
Pre-Litigation Negotiation and Resolution
  • Reviewing and analyzing incoming candidates’ restrictive covenants and obligations to the former employers, and assessing the risks of proceeding with hire.
  • Drafting traditional cease-and-desist letters.
  • Negotiating understandings regarding job positions, roles, and responsibilities to avoid non-compete disputes.
  • Handling pre-litigation mediation to determine material facts before parties engage in litigation.
Litigation from Temporary Restraining Order to Trial
  • Pursuing emergency applications for injunctive relief.
  • Using jurisdictional strategies to help accomplish business goals.
  • Conducting expedited discovery efficiently and effectively to exert maximum pressure.
  • Working with trusted partners to identify and review digital evidence and phone record analyses.
  • Handling evidentiary injunction hearings.
  • Developing long-term strategies including actions for damages and consent agreements with non-economic terms.

Team