Patterns Emerge in all-too-familiar Trade Secret Cases


After a while of looking at trade secret cases, common patterns start to emerge.

Last week, Johnson & Johnson filed a lawsuit in New Jersey federal court, alleging that a competitive strategy director downloaded thousands of files as he was leaving to join Pfizer. The employee had worked at J&J since 1999, and most recently in the Strategic Customer group which creates business strategies.

This pattern is all too familiar. Key employee leaves their job to do a similar role at a competitor, and allegedly downloads thousands of documents on their way out the door. With non-competes becoming much less enforceable, and in many states becoming essentially useless, protecting trade secrets directly is of paramount importance.

Tangibly advocates five best practices to reduce your risk and put you in the best possible position should litigation occur:

  1. identify your trade secret assets,
  2. limit access,
  3. have solid contracts providing confidentiality,
  4. get acknowledgments or at least provide notice to people having access, and
  5. conduct ongoing training and education.

Best practices will not guarantee that your trade secrets will not be misappropriated, but they help reduce your risks tremendously!


photo by Alice Butenko on UnSplash

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