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Kenneth J. Vanko

Kenneth J. Vanko


Mr. Vanko litigates and advises clients on the following areas of law: non-competition agreements, trade secret misappropriation, breach of fiduciary duty, shareholder litigation, trademark infringement, and other business and competition torts. He has extensive trial and appellate experience in both federal and state courts. Mr. Vanko also has litigated cases before the Trademark Trial and Appeals Board, the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority, and the American Arbitration Association.

Practice Admissions, Affiliations & Memberships


  • Supreme Court of the United States
  • Supreme Court of Illinois
  • U.S. Courts of Appeals for the Seventh and Eight Circuits
  • U.S. District Courts for the Northern and Central Districts of Illinois and Western District of Michigan


  • American Intellectual Property Law Association
  • Appellate Lawyers Association
  • Seventh Circuit Bar Association


  • Juris Doctor, University of Illinois College of Law (1997)
  • Bachelor of Science in Business Administration, The Ohio State University (1994)


  • In Search of Common Ground: Leveling the Playing Field for Chemically Dependent Workers Under the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990, 1996 U. Ill. L. Rev. 1257 (1996).
  • You’re Fired! And Don’t Forget Your Non-Compete…: The Enforceability of Restrictive Covenants In Involuntary Discharge Cases, 1 DePaul Bus. & Comm. L.J. 1 (Fall 2002).
  • Liquidated Damages: The Forgotten Remedy In Noncompete Disputes, 95 Ill. Bar. J. 5, at p. 254 (May 2007).
  • Non-Traditional Non-Competes: Designing Non-Competition Agreements to Hold Up in Court, 101 Ill. Bar. J. 11, at p. 568 (November 2013).
  • Proving Lost Profits Under Illinois Rule of Evidence 701, Kane County Bar Briefs Sept. 2014, at p. 56.
  • Since 2008, Mr. Vanko has published a blog titled Legal Developments in Non-Competition Agreements, which can be found at

Representative Cases

  • Summary judgment on $5 million trade secret dispute involving retail insurance brokerage industry, excluding all expert testimony related to lost profits and royalty damages
  • Summary judgment on behalf of start-up labor staffing firm brought by industry-leading competitor on claims of trade secret misappropriation and breach of non-competition agreements, affirmed on appeal
  • Judgment of dissolution for petitioning shareholders in Champaign-based investment advisory firm, following six-day bench trial, with corresponding attorneys’ fee sanction award exceeding $120,000
  • Judgment following bench trial in Indiana state court in favor of defendants in non-compete and trade secret dispute in the auto glass replacement industry
  • Judgment in DuPage County following bench trial in favor of defendant employee arising out of claim for breach of non-competition covenant
  • Judgment following bench trial in DuPage County in favor of minority shareholder and former director on claim for usurpation of corporate opportunity
  • Successful defense of cancellation proceeding before United States Patent and Trademark Office\’s Trademark Trial and Appeal Board, where dispute concerned priority of use over registered service mark
  • Dismissal of vertical non-competition claims brought by print brokerage company against manufacture of adhesive labels
  • Dismissal of employee non-competition claim brought by office equipment manufacturer against designer and salesperson
  • Dismissal of claims against printing and sign company on grounds of Copyright Act preemption
  • Preliminary injunctions in federal district courts in Minnesota and Montana for publicly-traded industrial supplier arising out of claims for breach of non-competition agreement
  • Temporary restraining order against former executive for misappropriation of company assets and commercial bribery, resulting in favorable seven-figure settlement and incarceration of defendant through separate criminal proceedings
  • Temporary restraining order and preliminary injunction for commercial landlord against business tenant for creating public and private nuisance
  • Judgment in favor of former employees arising under Computer Fraud and Abuse Act, 18 U.S.C. § 1030 et seq.; also obtained judgment in separate state court proceeding where employer asserted related tort claims
  • Temporary restraining order for publicly-traded financial services firm seeking emergency injunctive relief in aid of FINRA arbitration proceedings
  • Lead counsel for national technology company to obtain temporary restraining order against former employee who posed threats of violence to co-workers and who interfered with customer relationships, resulting in final judgment against defendant
  • First-chaired defense of public university in defense of class action employment discrimination case and obtained summary judgment for university on all claims
  • Successfully defended temporary restraining order and preliminary injunction proceedings for mortgage brokers arising out of non-compete and trade secret claims, also obtaining money judgment for wrongful issuance of ex parte TRO
  • Successfully represented pro bono client on Board of Review appeal before Illinois Department of Employment Security, obtaining reversal of adverse referee determination as to benefits eligibility
  • Negotiated departures of high-level corporate executives faced with threatened litigation over “inevitable disclosure” of trade secrets in insurance brokerage, high-frequency trading, banking, and wireless services industries