As many Californians already know -- and as Bay Area residents are acutely aware -- ride-sharing services such as Uber and Lyft are all the rage nowadays. These companies allow everyday people to transport people from point A to point B, just like a taxi would. It's a genius business approach that has turned these companies into incredibly profitable companies that are renowned across the globe.
What you might not have heard, though, is that in the summer of 2014, an executive from Lyft left the company and joined Uber. The executive was the chief operating officer of Lyft until August 2014, when he apparently tried to become chief executive. Clearly, that play did not work out, and he promptly left the company to join Uber.
Lyft has since sued that individual for trying to solicit Lyft employees to leave with him, as well as failing to return Lyft information in a timely and proper manner.
While this isn't a trade secret lawsuit (Lyft did not bring those allegations to the case), it still raises the interesting gray area of having someone -- especially an executive -- leave one company to join a competitor. What information would, or could, he or she give to their new employer? Would that communication break any laws or provisions that were drafted into a non-disclosure agreement?
Obviously, these are very important issues when you consider that a trade secret can be the difference between a company succeeding and a company flailing. It will be interesting to see how this lawsuit plays out.
Source: Reuters, "UPDATE 1-Judge says Lyft lawsuit against Uber exec should go to trial," Dan Levine, March 17, 2016
The author's opinions expressed in this article are strictly his/her own and should not be attributed to any others, including other attorneys at Klein DeNatale Goldner or the law firm as a whole.