Jacobs and Dodds is a business/labor law firm with offices in Orange County and Los Angeles County. Each partner has over 35 years of experience. The firm handles employment issues on behalf of employers, business litigation and business transactional matters for over 300 companies.
In Orange County call us at (949) 645-7300. In Los Angeles County call us at (424) 247-1195.
California Unfair Competition
The law of unfair competition is primarily comprised of torts that cause an
economic injury to a business, through a deceptive or wrongful business
practice. Unfair competition can be broken down into two broad groups or
categories. Unfair competition can refer to business practices that confuse
consumers as to the source of a given product or service. Or, unfair competition
can include such business activities as false advertising, bait and switch
selling tactics, unauthorized substitution of one brand of goods for another,
use of confidential and protected information by former employees, or
independent contractors to solicit customers of a former employer, theft of
trade secrets, breach of a restrictive covenant, trade libel, and false
representation of products or services.
In California, many business owners
are concerned about employees that leave the company and then either go to work
for a competitor, or open up a competing business. Employers are concerned that
the now ex-employee may have taken the customer list or other protected trade
secrets when the employee left the company.
A civil lawsuit may be brought against
a former employee who takes and makes use of a trade secret belonging to his
former employer. Under certain circumstances, an employer can seek immediate
injunctive relief to stop the former employee from competing
The theft of trade secrets is also a
crime. A person is guilty of theft who, with intent to deprive or withhold from
the owner the control of a trade secret or with intent to appropriate a trade
secret to his or her own use or the use of another, steals, takes, or carries
away any article representing a trade secret, fraudulently appropriates any
article representing a trade secret entrusted to him or her, or makes or causes
to be made a copy of any article representing a trade secret without authority
on obtaining access to the article unlawfully or in breach of a relationship of
trust and confidence on obtaining access through such
As used in Pen. Code, § 499c, (1)
"article" means any object, material, device, or substance or copy thereof,
including any writing, record, recording, drawing, sample, specimen, prototype,
model, photograph, microorganism, blueprint, or map; (2) "representing" means
describing, depicting, containing, constituting, reflecting, or recording; (3)
"trade secret" means information, including a formula, pattern, compilation,
program, device, method, technique, or process that derives independent economic
value, actual or potential, from not being generally known to the public or to
other persons who can obtain economic value from its disclosure or use; and is
the subject of efforts that are reasonable under the circumstances to maintain
its secrecy; (4) "copy" means any facsimile, replica, photograph, or other
reproduction of an article, and any note, drawing, or sketch made of or from an
article; and (5) "benefit" means gain or advantage, or anything regarded by the
beneficiary as gain or advantage, including benefit to any other person or
entity in whose welfare he or she is interested.
Also criminally liable is every person
who promises, offers, or gives, or conspires to promise, offer, or give to any
present or former agent, employee, or servant of another a benefit as an
inducement, bribe, or reward for conveying, delivering or otherwise making
available an article representing a trade secret owned by his or her present or
former principal, employer, or master, to any person not authorized by such
owner to receive or acquire it. Similarly liable is every person who, being such
an agent, employee, or servant, solicits, accepts, receives, or takes such a
However, there is no trade secret
protection for information known either to the public at large or to those
skilled in the particular field. It is an essential element of the offense that
an item fraudulently appropriated by the defendant would give one who uses it an
advantage over competitors who do not know of or use the trade secret; this
element requires more than merely conclusory and generalized allegations.
At the business law firm of Jacobs & Dodds we protect our clients from all forms of unfair competition.
Employees who primarily work and reside in California cannot be required by employers to enter agreements that would put their claims in a non-California forum or generally litigate claims under law of another jurisdiction. Effective Jan. 1.
What it means: In a legal dispute between employee and employer, what happens in California has to stay in California. The bill forbids adjudication outside of California, including arbitration, for a claim arising in California.
With SB1241, a Texas-based company, for example, can no longer hold a California employee to the noncompetition rule or law in an employment contract that is based on Texas law.
The City of Los Angeles has a mandatory paid
sick leave (PSL) law which is part of its minimum wage ordinance and which
has been in effect since July 1, 2016 for employers with 26 or more
employees. The Los Angeles PSL ordinance will begin to apply to employers
with 25 or fewer employees on July 1, 2017. From an employer perspective, one of the
toughest challenges of these local PSL ordinances is that the rules can change
at any time. That is precisely what happened with Los Angeles’s ordinance when
the city recently revised the rules and regulations relating
to this ordinance. The city also revised its answers to frequently asked questions (FAQ). Some of these changes or clarifications are
important, providing information on topics such as: ·How to determine business size; ·How to pay employees for sick time; ·When an existing paid leave or paid time off
policy can satisfy the requirements of the ordinance; ·How to use the frontloading method during the
first year that the law applies to …
The case of Brown v. American Airlines, Inc., No. CV 10-8431-AG (PJWx), 2015 WL 6735217 (C.D. Cal. Oct. 5, 2015) concerns the dismissal of PAGA claims where the claims are based on numerous individualized issues that may render the case unmanageable.
PAGA allows “aggrieved employees” to bring representative actions against employers for civil penalties on behalf of themselves and other employees for violations of the Labor Code. To recover penalties, a PAGA plaintiff must prove an underlying Labor Code violation as to each allegedly aggrieved employee for each pay period for which the plaintiff seeks penalties. But to determine liability on the underlying Labor Code provisions, the court may need to adjudicate issues specific to each pay period for each allegedly aggrieved employee — which raises potentially significant manageability problems.
A plaintiff may be able to meet the burden of proof where the employee alleges an employer violated Labor Code section 226(a) by providi…