Companies face an ever increasing risk of theft and misuse of intellectual property, especially trade secrets and other forms of sensitive business information. Today, more than ever before, threats from companies operating in China and other emerging markets have heightened this risk, although the threat from domestic competitors remains intense. Recent examples include instances where “corporate spies” placed in positions of trust by U.S. employers have left those companies with critical information and delivered that information to global competitors. In 2010, to combat this risk, the U.S. Department of Justice formed a Task Force on Intellectual Property headed by an Intellectual Property Enforcement Coordinator to investigate and prosecute criminal acts of corporate espionage, and in 2012, the Federal Bureau of Investigation launched a billboard campaign publicizing the $13 billion lost by misuse of American companies’ trade secrets.
Kilpatrick Townsend counsels clients on the ways to protect their intellectual property from corporate espionage and other threats. Through audits and compliance checks, we work with our clients to safeguard their confidential business information at the outset. We have extensive experience enforcing trade secret rights in civil and criminal litigation, as well as in litigation prosecuting claims to protect electronic data under the federal Computer Fraud and Abuse Act and similar state statutes. Our team of former federal prosecutors assists corporate clients with internal investigations and formulating a response to government investigations, both when the client is a victim and when the client employs an individual accused of trade secret theft from a previous job.
Because commercial exploitation of trade secrets is often facilitated by dishonest employees and contractors, thorough management of employee and contractor activities is critical to trade secret protection. We also counsel our clients to protect themselves when hiring new employees, particularly if the employee was previously employed by a competitor and has knowledge of the competitor’s confidential information and trade secrets. Our Technology Litigation, Outsourcing and Labor & Employment attorneys regularly collaborate to provide clients with comprehensive, multi-faceted approaches to employment contracts, confidentiality and non-competition agreements, security audits, and business processes to ensure maximum protection of this intellectual property on a domestic and international basis.
As companies expand into emerging markets, and with the increasing use of technology to transmit corporate data, the risk of trade secret theft through corporate espionage continues to grow. Our attorneys regularly monitor industry, technological and legal developments in this area to advise our clients on how to best protect their important assets from attack.
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Founded in 1934, First Financial operates First Federal Bank, which has 66 locations in the Carolinas and is the third largest financial institution more
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