Non-Compete and Trade Secrets News for the week ended May 5, 2017
The New York Times Op-Ed
Orly Lobel, the author of Talent Wants to be Free, had a lengthy op-ed published yesterday in the New York Times, titled "Companies compete but won't let their workers do the same." For the most part, the editorial sounds the same cautionary tale as does her terrific book. It updates its analysis with the 2016 White House Call to Action and some legislative efforts underway to curb the misuse of non-competes. But its conclusions are largely the same.
In this particular area, Professor Lobel is one of the foremost thought-leaders and influential scholars, along with Evan Starr, Matt Marx, and Norm Bishara. Although I highly recommend Professor Lobel's scholarship and writings to anyone who is interested in labor mobility, one particular point she made in Talent Wants to be Free stuck with me more than any other. It's the concept of "embedded knowledge" and how it can bridge the often confusing gap between protected trade secrets that belong to the company and unprotected skills that belong to an employee.
For more on this topic, see my post from March of 2014.
Waymo v. Uber Update
Every day sees a new twist and turn in the self-driving car dispute between Waymo (an Alphabet affiliate) and Uber. Reuters reports on the court's remarks that Waymo lacks a "smoking gun" concerning Uber's supposed use of any documents taken by Anthony Levandowski. But he apparently is still considering an injunction against Uber. The article also notes Levandowski invoked the Fifth Amendment privilege against self-incrimination during his deposition, which his earlier motions suggested would happen.
On that score, the New York Times reported late last week the Levandowski is taking a hiatus from working on certain technology while the lawsuit remains pending.