Law Technology News | May.17.2013
This article, authored by intellectual property partner Sid Venkatesan and intellectual property managing associate Elizabeth McBride, discusses ways in which companies can use computer forensic techniques to investigate intellectual property thefts. An excerpt from the article is included below.
Information technology advances have many salutary effects, allowing workplace flexibility and reduced IT spending. IT advances have also established a host of new intellectual property security issues stemming from data breaches, computer hacking, and theft of proprietary data by departing employees or consultants. These issues now affect companies large and small because all aspects of a company's intellectual assets are preserved electronically, and companies are increasingly relying on employees and independent contractors to access these assets remotely, 24 by 7.
When a valuable employee departs to a competitor, or leaves to start an unspecified "new venture," or even leaves for some "time off," an employer must be vigilant regarding the possibility that electronic copies of company trade secrets -- such as confidential customer data, source code, business plans, or technical documents -- may follow the former employee out the door. This "departing employee" scenario is probably the most common fact pattern that leads to trade secret litigation.