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Competitive Practices/Unfair Competition

Maslon's Competitive Practices Litigation Group focuses on litigation involving non-competition agreements, trade secrets, business torts, anti-trust and unfair competition and trade practices. We have extensive experience successfully litigating such claims in courts across the nation, on behalf of both employers and employees, and in a wide range of industries and professions, including finance, insurance, manufacturing, retailing, and law.

We also counsel our clients on the implementation of programs to protect intellectual property, including non-competition programs and trade secret protection audits. For example, we have assisted public companies in successfully implementing and enforcing non-competition forfeiture provisions in their equity compensation plans.

Representative Cases Include:

Legal Costs Recovered After Enforcing Covenant Not To Compete. In a case of first impression in Minnesota, Maslon not only prevailed in enforcing the non-compete covenant at trial and on appeal, it also obtained a judgment for the attorney's fees Maslon's client had incurred in enforcing the covenant based upon a theory of tortious interference with contract. Kallok v. Medtronic, Inc., 573 N.W.2d 356 (Minn. 1998).

Covenant Not To Compete Enforced in Inter-State Dispute. In a dispute that was nationally significant for the inter-state comity issues it raised, Maslon successfully enforced a covenant not to compete against a former Minnesota employee who attempted to violate it in California. The employee and his new employer sought to take advantage of California's public policy against non-compete covenants by bringing a surprise, pre-emptive lawsuit in California. Maslon quickly obtained a TRO from a Minnesota court enforcing the non-compete covenant. After the non-compete covenant had been enforced for its full term and Maslon had obtained summary judgment for breach of contract, the California employer settled our client's tortious interference with contract claim by paying attorneys' fees our client had incurred in enforcing the non-compete covenant. Medtronic, Inc. v. Advanced Bionics Corp., 630 N.W.2d 438 (Minn. Ct. App. 2001).

Trade Secret/Non-Solicitation/Non-Compete Agreement Enforced. In 2001, Maslon obtained a $7.1 million arbitration award, on behalf of a publicly traded client against a seller of a technology consulting firm who breached non-compete and non-solicitation provisions in a buy-sell agreement and misappropriated trade secrets. The award followed a two-week arbitration and included a substantial award of attorneys' fees.

Unfair Competition Claims Defeated. Defeated motion for TRO brought against manufacturer by former distributor alleging wrongful termination, unfair competition, and violation of Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA), and recovered in excess of $2 million on counterclaim for breach of distribution agreement.

TRO Motion Defeated. Maslon defeated a motion for a TRO brought against a provider of electronic data consulting services, in an action to enforce a sales representative's non-competition covenant, resulting in a favorable settlement for our client.

Trade Secret Claims Dismissed. Maslon obtained a voluntary dismissal of a trade secret misappropriation claim involving electronic gaming technology.

Trade Secret and Discrimination Claims Settled. Maslon obtained a favorable settlement of trade secret misappropriation and gender/race discrimination claims brought by former engineer against medical product manufacturer.

Trade Secret and Lanham Act Claims Settled. Maslon obtained a favorable settlement of trade secret misappropriation and product disparagement claims on behalf of a medical product manufacturer.

Injunction Obtained. Maslon successfully obtained a temporary injunction followed by a stipulated three-year injunction prohibiting a former marketing manager of recreational watercraft from accepting a position with a major competitor that would violate his non-compete agreement.


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