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Protecting Proprietary Information in the Age of Employee Mobility

Level: Advanced
Runtime: 57 minutes
Recorded Date: September 25, 2019
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  • Limitations on restricting employee mobility
  • Emphasis on preventing intentional or inadvertent misuse of proprietary business information and trade secrets
  • Keeping up with technology: BYOD and social media issues
  • Recent trends in trade secret litigation
  • Best practices
Runtime: 1 hour
Recorded: September 25, 2019


In the hiring & onboarding process, employers usually greet their new employees with agreements that are designed to protect the company's valuable trade secrets and proprietary information both during and after the employee's employment. Companies expend significant resources and effort to protect their assets from their competition by, among other things, requiring new hires to sign non-competes and non-solicit agreements that can be enforced in the event of a breach. Unfortunately, the laws governing these restrictions vary from state to state (and country to country), making uniformity impossible. In addition, there has been a clear trend towards limiting the enforcement of post-termination restrictive covenants in certain states -- such that many organizations are in need of revising their contracts to meet the changes in the law.

In this session, we will provide an overview of the state & international laws concerning protection against disclosure of confidential information, solicitation of company clients and employees, competition, and more.

Panelists will discuss applicable laws concerning employee movement and share best practices to enforce restrictive covenants, including seeking injunctive relief and/or monetary damages from both the former employee and the new employer, depending upon the circumstances of the departure, as well as best practice tips to strengthen an organization's ability to protect these valuable assets.

This program was recorded as part of ALM's Annual General Counsel Conference on September 25th, 2019.

Provided By

General Counsel Conference
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Betty A. Ryberg

Associate General Counsel
West Pharmaceutical Services, Inc.

Betty is a legal leader who enjoys helping companies transform legal and reputational challenges into business opportunities. She regularly applies her wide-ranging, hands-on legal experience in a wide-variety of matters to achieve results for her clients. Betty currently serves as member of the West global legal department, head of intellectual property, and lead lawyer for West’s Israel operations. An accomplishment for which Betty is particularly proud is transforming a breach of a confidentiality agreement into a royalty-bearing license that includes three, seven-figure lump-sum payments.

Betty joined West in 2016 from Novartis, where she served for eight years as Vice President in its legal function, advising on significant products liability and IP litigation and license and settlement agreements. She helped devise a global intercompany licensing, patent assignment and cash flow management strategy to optimize potential recovery in patent infringement litigation and corporate taxes. She created legal/IP strategies under the Biologics Price Competition and Innovation Act of 2009, which created a regulatory pathway for biosimilars. Betty also was responsible for SOX reporting of litigation matters globally, and the divestment of vaccines, diagnostics and over-the-counter businesses worth over USD 20 bn.

Before joining Novartis, Betty worked in private practice for over twelve years, including eight as an associate for Kaye Scholer, LLP, where she litigated dozens of pharmaceutical, biotech, medical device, scientific equipment and software patent infringement, copyright infringement and breach of contract cases, and conducted numerous M&A due diligences. Betty bolsters this large law firm and big Biopharma experience with a solid foundation as an associate at a small IP boutique learning patent and trademark preparation and prosecution. Upon graduating from law school, Betty worked for a year managing discovery in Superfund cases. Combined with her in-house experience, Betty has tried nearly 40 patent infringement and products liability cases, including cross-examining a key expert, prepared, taken or defended nearly 50 depositions in various jurisdictions across the United States and in London, and drafted dozens of legal briefs and asset sale/purchase and license agreements.

Before becoming a lawyer, Betty worked as an engineer for 3M, where she oversaw two specialty film production lines and helped develop a production process for Thinsulate? film. She also worked as an engineer for Pitney Bowes, where she was responsible for selecting all new elastomers for a new high-speed inking system and an inventor on four patents. While working fulltime for Pitney Bowes, Betty earned her J.D. from Quinnipiac University in nearby Bridgeport, Connecticut. Betty also earned a Bachelor of Chemical Engineering from Auburn University. Betty is admitted to practice law in Pennsylvania, D.C., New York, and Connecticut and is a registered U.S. Patent Attorney.

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Mark A. Russo

General Counsel & Managing Director

Mr. Russo serves as General Counsel and a Managing Director at ZAIS and is also a member of ZAIS’s Management Advisory Committee. Mr. Russo was appointed General Counsel in April 2017.

Before joining ZAIS in February of 2007, Mr. Russo was an attorney at Thacher Proffitt & Wood LLP in the Structured Finance Practice Group from 2004 to 2007.

Mr. Russo received a B.S. with distinction from The Pennsylvania State University and a J.D. from St. John’s University School of Law.

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Ilya Braz

Managing Director & General Counsel
GFI Capital Resources Group, Inc.

As Managing Director & General Counsel, Mr. Braz directs all of the day-to-day legal affairs of GFI and its affiliates, including the planning, structuring and negotiation of complex transactions, joint ventures, regulatory and compliance matters and corporate governance. Mr. Braz is a member of GFI’s Executive and Investment Committees and coordinates execution of the Company’s investment strategies.

Prior to joining GFI, Mr. Braz was the Director of Legal Services for Africa Israel, USA, the U.S. subsidiary of Africa Israel Investments, where he advised the company on all legal matters concerning the company’s U.S. real estate holdings. At Africa Israel, Mr. Braz played a key role on development projects including: 20 Pine- the Collection, a conversion of a high rise office building in Manhattan’s financial district to 409 luxury condominium residences and ground floor retail, the ground-up development of the Marquis, a 67-story luxury condominium and hotel located in downtown Miami and the redevelopment of the Times Square Building.

Mr. Braz earned his bachelor’s degree, from Clark University, cum laude with honors in Economics, and received a J.D. from Brooklyn Law School.

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Scott Matthews

Windels Marx Lane & Mittendorf, LLP

Scott's practice is devoted to the representation of clients in business disputes, often in the employment context, as well as providing advice to employers and senior executives regarding employment matters. His clients are local and nationally known companies in the real estate, marketing, financial services, executive recruiting, professional services, transportation, retail and manufacturing industries, as well as owners of closely-held companies and individuals with the need for sophisticated representation.

Scott's employment and executive compensation practice involves transactional advice and formal dispute resolution. He routinely works with organizational clients to guide them through the myriad of federal, state, and local laws and regulations that govern their businesses.

He regularly counsels publicly-traded and privately-owned companies and senior executives in the negotiation and drafting of employment and separation agreements, particularly with regard to the role of restrictive covenants and protection of trade secrets. He litigates and arbitrates all aspects of employment relationships, including claims of sexual harassment, discrimination, theft of trade secrets, breach of restrictive covenants, compliance with wage and hour laws, worker classification, and retaliation. Scott has authored numerous articles and chapters in trade publications concerning these matters, as well as lectured on these topics at trade conferences in New York and Chicago, before professional associations, and at New York University, Stern School of Business.

Mr. Matthews is a member of the Nassau County Bar Association, Commercial Litigation Committee and the Employment Law Committee.

In 2018 and 2019, Mr. Matthews was recognized by Super Lawyers New York Metro edition for his work in Business Litigation. From 2012 to 2014, the same publication recognized Mr. Matthews as a "Rising Star" for his work in Business Litigation and Employment & Labor.

While attending Fordham University School of Law, he received the Philip R. Fusco Memorial Award and served as the Business Editor of the Intellectual Property, Media and Entertainment Law Journal. He was also Symposium Editor of the Fordham Sports Law Society.

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