We at Tangibly always say that every company and industry sector in the world has trade secrets. But cruise ships can’t possibly have trade secrets, right?
They do, as recently demonstrated in Finland. A worker left his job at a shipyard that manufactures cruise ships, and took thousands of files as he was leaving.
The ex-employee then shared the trade secrets with a Chinese shipyard through a consulting firm that he owned.
The Finland shipyard learned about the theft through Facebook! This led to the shipyard suing the ex-employee and consulting firm for theft of trade secrets and copyright infringement (from unauthorized copying of the files).
The court awarded 5 million Euros in damages for the theft plus 95 thousand Euros in interest. Interestingly the ex-employee died during the proceedings.
This case shows the risks associated with employees leaving their employer, and the importance of monitoring for signs of trade secret theft. Most companies are concerned about hackers, but your own employees statistically are your greatest risk.