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  • Posts by James Hinshaw

    James is a trial lawyer concentrating his practice on the litigation of intellectual property disputes and business disputes including: patent, copyright, trademark, and trade complex dress infringement; misappropriation ...

As first appeared in the 'Inside Edge' newsletter from

A California woman recently sued Taco Bell to stop it from saying that the filling for many of its tacos and burritos is “seasoned beef.” She asserted it had too little actual beef to be labeled as such. Very soon after filing her lawsuit, though, she voluntarily agreed to dismiss it. She did so without being paid any money by Taco Bell, and without forcing the company to make any changes to its products, ingredients or advertising. This was certainly a very favorable result for Taco Bell – not only because of the result, but also because of the avoidance of expensive protracted litigation.

The recent plight of Hewlett-Packard's former CEO Mark Hurd has been headline news, due to alleged improprieties arising out of his social affairs. The saga continues. Hewlett-Packard's competitor Oracle promptly hired Hurd. Even though Hurd did not have a non-compete agreement, Hewlett-Packard has now sued Oracle, claiming that Hurd misappropriated the company's trade secrets and would inevitably disclose them to Oracle. While the somewhat scandalous set of circumstances reads like a corporate soap opera, the trade secret scenario is not uncommon to manufacturers here in the Midwest. You are interested in hiring someone because you value his or her skills and experiences. But, the prospective employee previously worked for a rival - and may have had access to your competitor's trade secrets. You have confirmed that the person has no non-compete obligations. So, if you make the hire, is your company going to get sued for trade secret misappropriation?



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