Mar 18, 2019
When unfair conduct by competitors threatens to disrupt the flow of business, we offer cost-effective strategies for protecting your interests, avoiding litigation, and enforcing your agreements.
In today's intensely competitive economic environment, companies in all industries frequently encounter conduct by competitors that crosses the line. When competitors don't play within the rules, businesses trust Parker Hudson to bring or defend actions successfully and cost-effectively. Our attorneys offer extensive experience in all types of business torts, false advertising, trade secret, and restrictive covenant disputes. Our attorneys are thought leaders in this area, having spoken and written at length on the new federal trade secrets law (the Defend Trade Secrets Act), as well as Georgia’s restrictive covenants statute.
We obtained one of the first decisions enforcing a nationwide non-competition covenant under Georgia's restrictive covenant statute: Cellairis Franchise, Inc. v. Duarte, 2015 WL 6517487 (N.D. Ga. Oct. 21, 2015). While most of our clients are companies or employers across a wide range of industries, we also represent individual executives and departing employees who are subject to restrictive covenants or threatened misappropriation claims.
Our approach includes:
- Considering the whole array of potential claims and defenses to choose the best strategies for a particular client's situation
- Working with clients to identify the trade secrets and business assets that might be most vulnerable in your business and then determining the right steps for protecting them
- Offering scalability from single-employee disputes to large-scale raiding and trade secret cases
- Helping your business distinguish between the disputes that are worth litigating and those that should be resolved quickly
- Taking proactive steps to protect your interests and secrets before litigation arises
- Providing experienced trial lawyers who offer aggressive and effective representation for a wide variety of business competition disputes if litigation is unavoidable
- Drafting agreements, covenants, contracts, and policy statements that put you in the favorable position in the event of a dispute
- Getting to know your company so that we understand your competitive advantages and what makes your proprietary business strategies and information unique
We prioritize big-picture thinking and proactive strategies, recognizing that your goal is to avoid or resolve disputes efficiently while still protecting your company's hard-earned business assets. That’s why we look for practical, creative solutions that get the job done.
With our attorneys, you will find the resourcefulness and quality of service of a “Big Law” litigation team but with fee arrangements that provide more value to the client. Whether you are a large employer, a franchisor, a small business owner, an executive, or a departing employee, we offer extensive experience and a deep bench at every level.
- Restrictive covenants (enforcement and challenges)
- Non-solicit agreements and non-competition agreements
- Trade secrets claims, including under the Defend Trade Secrets Act and state laws
- Unfair competition claims under common law
- Unfair and deceptive trade practices statutes and claims
- False advertising under the Lanham Act and state laws
- Commercial and contractual disputes
- Franchise disputes
- Agency issues
- Tortious interference and other business tort claims
- Copyright, trademark, and intellectual property disputes
- Uniform Commercial Code disputes
- Employment litigation
- Successfully represented securities broker-dealer in FINRA arbitration involving claims of libel, slander, wrongful termination and violations of the Georgia Trade Secrets Act.
- Represented one of nation's largest insurance brokers in lawsuit against major competitor and disappointed corporate suitor in the Delaware Court of Chancery asserting breach of a Confidentiality Agreement. Our strategy prevented unlawful poaching and allowed the sale transaction to a different competitor to close.
- Represented a national franchisor of units selling wireless accessories and performing repairs of wireless devices, in a precedent-setting case enforcing a non-compete under the new Georgia restrictive covenants statute against a former employee and a guarantor of one of our client's franchisees. After the defendant began to work with one of our client's competitors, our client sued to enforce a non-compete in his guarantee agreement restricting his ability to work in the wireless accessory and repair industry within a 10-mile radius of any of our client's franchise units anywhere in the United States. In a case of first impression under the still-new Georgia restrictive covenant statute, a federal judge granted a preliminary injunction enforcing the non-compete to the full extent of its terms – i.e., nationwide for 10 miles around any business unit. The Court's decision represents a major victory for franchisors because it recognizes a franchisor’s legitimate business interest in preventing unfair competition nationally by a former franchisee or its principals, and grants much broader relief than previously was available under Georgia law.
- Represented a large financial services institution in a series of lawsuits with a major competitor that involved allegations of corporate raiding, misappropriation of trade secrets, and alleged violation of restrictive covenants. The competitor of our client and a former employee initiated a lawsuit in state court, seeking a temporary restraining order to prevent our client from enforcing certain restrictive covenants. The firm removed the case to federal court and successfully defeated a motion to remand when the federal court found that the competitor had fraudulently joined an affiliate of our client in an effort to defeat diversity jurisdiction. The competitor then withdrew its motion for temporary restraining order and instead filed a motion for preliminary injunction. The firm then asserted several counterclaims against the competitor and former employee, defending the enforceability of the restrictive covenants and asserting trade secret claims, tort claims, and claims for breaches of the covenants. After some discovery, the competitor and former employee withdrew their motion for preliminary injunction, and the case resulted in a substantial settlement in favor of our client.
- Represented international wine broker in action involving alleged sale of counterfeit wines and fraud claim.
- Represented the subsidiary of a Fortune 500 diagnostic testing company in successfully enforcing restrictive covenants against a top sales representative. Despite having agreed to restrictive covenants, including a non-compete, the sales representative resigned and went to work for a competitor in the same territory. We filed suit on behalf of our client and obtained a preliminary injunction in federal court against the sales representative. Then, based on evidence obtained during discovery, the firm moved for summary judgment on behalf of our client. The Court granted summary judgment as to liability in favor of our client, finding that the sales representative had breached both his non-compete and his non-solicitation covenants. Shortly thereafter, the case settled favorably to our client.
- Represent two entrepreneurs in defense of claims for alleged misappropriation of trade secrets, misuse of confidential information, trademark infringement, and related claims. The case involves new, cutting-edge technology relating to small satellites (cube satellites) and the internet of things. The firm obtained summary judgment for our clients on several claims, including on the plaintiff's claims for trademark infringement, breach of contractual client and employee non-solicits, and violation of the Georgia computer systems protection statute.
- Represent a hospital in significant litigation against a former physician employee and executive. The case involves several claims and counterclaims relating to the physician's departure from employment with our client and his decision to work for a competitor hospital in violation of his non-competition covenant, as well as disputes relating to compensation issues. After extensive discovery, the firm defeated the physician's motion for summary judgment as to the alleged unenforceability of his non-competition covenant. The case remains ongoing.
- Represented a software company in litigation relating to the alleged breach of a non-disclosure agreement entered with a competitor in connection with the consideration of a potential joint venture. Our client denied misusing confidential information and denied any wrongdoing. We were able to resolve the case early in the litigation and obtain dismissal of the lawsuit and the competitor's motion for injunctive relief, without our client having to incur substantial legal fees.
- Represent veterans organization in connection with tort claims asserted by a female VA employee whose advances had been rebuffed by client's male employee. The plaintiff claimed that client's employee defamed her when he submitted a report to the VA that she had been coming to his workplace and harassing him, which resulted in the termination of her employment with the VA. We filed a motion to dismiss her claims against our client and its employee, and all claims were dismissed in their entirety.