Practice Overview

Many employees incorrectly assume that non-competition or non-solicitation agreements they signed with their previous employer cannot be enforced, or will be very difficult to enforce. Often, employees leaving their employment will take or keep documents or information (e.g., sales records, customer information) because they do not understand or have never heard of Ohio’s trade secret laws. And many times, neither the employer nor the employee understand the circumstances under which a former employee may enter into direct competition with his former employer.While often times Ohio laws are just ignored, we have found that many disputes arising from a previous employee’s post-separation conduct could have been avoided altogether with smart and timely legal advice. It is not unusual that just a short meeting, with an experienced attorney, could have prevented thousands of dollars in legal fees and potential exposure.At Sonkin • Koberna, we regularly counsel both employers and employees regarding their respective rights and obligations in the area of trade secrets, unfair competition and non-competition agreements. If litigation becomes necessary, our trial lawyers are very experienced in obtaining immediate injunctive relief and cease and desist orders from court, in order to prevent irreparable harm before it occurs. We have also handled complex trade secret cases which require a thorough understanding of complicated technical issues.In some cases, it is important to retain a qualified forensic computer expert to assist in the investigation, or to capture electronically stored information which may have been misappropriated, or a sophisticated accounting firm to assist in the preparation of complex calculations of damages flowing from lost customers, lost sales or lost opportunities. Sonkin • Koberna has ongoing relationships with many highly qualified expert consulting firms, and works hand in hand with them to ensure the best possible results.We also have many years of experience in negotiating and drafting employment agreements containing non-competition, non-solicitation and other restrictive covenants.


  • Represented manufacturer of fuel cells in action against former employees who resigned and joined competitor in action for theft of trade secrets
  • Obtained injunctive relief on behalf of distributor of plumbing products against former employee (sales manager) and his new employer enjoining further breaches of and interference with terms of non-compete agreement, and recovered attorneys’ fees and lost gross profits in subsequent settlement
  • Obtained judgment in favor of a group of salesman who left their employer and started their own business selling fitness equipment, establishing that non-compete agreements signed with predecessor of former employer were not enforceable
  • Defended supplier of tire curing presses in litigation alleging misappropriation of trade secrets brought by another supplier of equipment, who asserted design details of its own machine were incorporated into design of client’s machines
  • Obtained injunctive relief on behalf of automobile dealer against former salesperson who joined competitor, and took client’s customer lists and other confidential information
  • Represented national veterinary clinic in action seeking injunctive relief and damages against group of veterinarians who left practice and began soliciting client’s customers on behalf of competing veterinary clinic
  • Represented law firm in action against attorney who left practice and took confidential client information and case files
  • Defended transportation company in action brought by competitor alleging that client’s employee stole customer information and improperly solicited competitor’s customers
  • Represented independent sales representative in connection with claim asserted by manufacturer that he breached sales representative agreement by selling “similar” or competing products
  • Represented automobile dealer in action against former employee who misappropriated dealer’s domain name, and set up competing website
  • Defended regional bank located in Michigan and loan officer in claims brought by competing Ohio bank asserting claims for alleged violations of Non-Solicitation Agreement and trade secret statute