Protecting IP in the Workplace with Frank Harty
On Intellectual Property | Jeffrey D. Harty calendar_today January 17, 2023 timer 0:40:17

Protecting IP in the Workplace with Frank Harty

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The intersection between intellectual property and employment law comes up very frequently. No doubt there are challenges in protecting a company’s IP in the workplace environment. A company may find itself in situations that vary from case to case. In this episode, we explore key concepts that can help businesses, both large and small, put themselves in better positions to protect their IP. 


In this episode, Jeff Harty and Frank Harty discuss: 

  • What to do with employees who leave your company and have acquired confidential information and trade secrets belonging to the company. 
  • The importance of planning to secure and protect your rights. 
  • Employment agreements and doing more than simply having the individual sign an agreement. 
  • Using and enforcing noncompete agreements.
  • The Federal Trade Commission’s proposed new rule that would ban employers from imposing noncompetes on their workers.


Key Takeaways: 

  • Planning is everything. Right from the beginning, think about what you want to protect and from whom. 
  • The common law duty of loyalty (as recognized by most states) ends when the employee is no longer employed by the company. It is important to have post-employment restrictions or obligations written into the employment agreement. 
  • When enforcinging noncompete agreements, the employer’s counsel should have a nimble plan of attack to protect the employer’s confidential information and other IP.  Such matters often do not go to trial but culminate in an early motion for injunctive relief with a ruling from the court on whether to enter an injunction.
  • Be careful and clear in addressing the ownership and use of intellectual property with employees, independent contractors, and vendors.



“The common law duty of loyalty essentially ends the day the employee walks out of the workplace. Therefore, post-employment conduct generally has to be protected using agreements and in all the intellectual property protections that you put in place.” —Frank Harty



About Frank Harty: 

Frank Harty put himself through college and law school by playing football and working.


A commitment to professionalism and blue-collar roots—he’s from a family of cops and firefighters—sparked his interest in workplace issues and his specialty in labor and employment litigation. “Next to faith and family, the workplace is the most important part of most lives,” he says.


Frank has tried almost 100 cases to verdict. He regularly represents companies, nonprofit organizations, and institutions of higher learning in day-to-day and complex labor and employment issues. 


Employers with litigation or other labor and employment needs can rely on his experience, knowledge, and persistence. Frank is equipped to address a broad range of labor and employment issues. “I’m primarily a trial lawyer who focuses on labor and employment, but I also have an office practice and provide preventive advice that relates to the workplace,” he says.


His passionate desire to win shows in his record of success and his recognition by leading guides such as Chambers USA and Benchmark Litigation. “I like finding ways to win for my clients.” Frank says, “and that might include winning by losing the right way. It might include winning by avoiding a fight. Very often, it includes going to trial and winning at trial.”


Connect with Frank Harty: 



Book: Protecting Intellectual Property: Key Legal Insights for Business in Iowa 



Episode References: 

  • “FTC Proposes Sweeping Ban on Noncompetes: What Employers Need to Know Now”
  • Nyemaster attorneys Brianna Long and Randall Armentrout take a look at the key issues employers need to know regarding the Federal Trade Commission’s recently proposed ban on noncompete agreements:
  • https://www