Trade Secrets and Unfair Competition


Representative Matters

Businesses today understand that success is not simply dependent upon achieving a competitive advantage by offering a superior product or service. In order to survive, businesses must also diligently protect and maintain their competitive advantages. That means protecting your enterprise against a host of unfair competitive practices, including trade secret theft, the disparagement of your products or services, the “palming off” of a competitor’s products or services as yours, the raiding by a competitor of your key employees, the infringement of your products, processes, trademarks or trade dress, theft of your customers and customer goodwill by a former employee in violation of a non-compete agreement, or the tortious interference by a competitor with your contractual relationships or your legitimate prospects for future business opportunities. Most businesses expect vigorous competition from their rivals. Indeed, healthy competition can help keep a business strong, nimble and responsive. But, vigorous competition has been known to cross the line into the province of unfair business practices. When unfair competition disputes arise, business rivals often find themselves involved in high stakes litigation that can dictate the future profitability of their business activities.

We assist businesses in protecting their competitive advantages and in defending unfair competition claims brought by their business rivals. For over twenty years, Butler Rubin attorneys have prosecuted and defended trade secret, restrictive covenant, trademark, and unfair competition cases in courtrooms from New Jersey to California and from Illinois to Alabama. We have successfully represented clients in the following types of disputes:

  • Trade secret actions based upon the Uniform Trade Secrets Act, contractual prohibitions against the use or disclosure of confidential information and trade secrets, or common law principles governing trade secret protection;
  • Trademark and trade dress infringement cases brought under the Lanham Act and state analogues;
  • Patent and copyright infringement suits;
  • Unfair competition cases brought under the Lanham Act and state analogues or based upon common law prohibitions against various forms of unfair competition; including trade disparagement, “palming off” and unfair advertising;
  • Actions involving tortious interference with contractual rights or prospective business opportunities;
  • Restrictive covenant actions based upon the laws of various states, including, for example, Illinois, Florida, Pennsylvania, New Jersey, Alabama, North Carolina, California, Indiana, and Missouri.

Since the vast majority of these actions involve a potential for irreparable injury to one party or the other, they typically include requests for temporary restraining orders and/or preliminary injunctions. We have vast experience, and are comfortable, with conducting our investigation, drafting pleadings, engaging in discovery and preparing the case for hearing or trial in an efficient and expedited manner. Actions litigated on an expedited basis are qualitatively different from other complex litigation matters. They are not for the weak, weary, or faint of heart. The party that effectively seizes the early momentum in these cases by prevailing at the initial contested hearing often enjoys a powerful advantage. We understand that achieving a positive result for our clients necessarily requires a tremendous commitment, as well as intense and tireless effort on our part until that result is achieved.

The following represent a sampling of the non-litigation services we provide to our clients:

  • Assisting clients in establishing internal procedures for the protection of trade secrets;
  • Drafting restrictive covenants and confidentiality agreements;
  • Counseling clients on the enforceability of restrictive covenants and confidentiality agreements;
  • Assisting clients to compete while complying with statutory, contractual, and common law prohibitions against unfair business practices.