Given the difficulty of protecting intellectual property related to cannabis and cannabis-based products with patents, copyrights and trademarks, any company in the cannabis industry should formulate a trade secrets protection plan from the very outset of the business, in order to ensure that the proprietary information at the center of its business does not lose its confidential status down the road.
If an employment agreement entered after May 11, 2016, does not contain an immunity notice, employer can sue an employee for trade secrets misappropriation, but will not be able to recover its attorneys fees or obtain an award of punitive damages.
Since trade secrets are not registered with the government, like patents or trademarks, companies must take proactive measures to preserve them. Those who fail to take reasonable measures, risk finding out down the road (usually in court, when the try to recover stolen trade secrets from a rogue employee) that their information has lost its trade secrets status.
An employer cannot wrongfully breach a provision of an employment contract that is favorable to the employee (such as reducing his wages without his consent and without contractual authority to do so) an then go into a court of equity to secure, by injunction, the enforcement of another provision favorable to it.”
Since the White House issued a call to action to state legislators asking them to reign in the use of non-compete agreements in 2016, 16 states proceeded to amend their non-compete statutes to add additional protections for employees
Both employers and employees are wondering how COVID-19 will affect the litigation of the non-compete disputes around the country and whether the courts will be more or less likely to enforce such agreements in light of the nationwide health emergency and the drastic economic downturn.