“The only thing more expensive than education is ignorance.”
– Benjamin Franklin
We’ve all heard the stats: Over 50 percent of employees admit stealing company information when they leave for a new job.
Why do so many employees take company information? Ignorance. Many of them “think the data they create and manage on the job belongs to them.”
The solution? Education.
Education Made Quick and Easy
We created a series of short training videos to educate companies and workers about what trade secrets are and how to protect them.1
The education provided by the videos serves two important purposes: First, it helps to prevent the loss of trade secrets and customer goodwill before it happens. And second, if litigation ever becomes necessary, it can also help to establish that the company took the required measures to protect its trade secrets and goodwill before asking a court for help.
How to Use the Ten Minute Trade Secret Training Series
The videos are a series of short trainings designed to help employers and employees navigate the movement of employees from one company to another, and to understand how to keep trade secrets (and customer goodwill) safe during that process and during employment. The videos cover each part of the employment lifecycle, from the time an employee starts a job, to while the employee works for a company, to the time the employee is planning to leave a job.
The first in the series – for an employee starting a new job – is Avoiding Mistakes When Starting A New Job:
The training video walks through the steps an employee should take when starting a job to ensure that they comply with their post-employment contractual obligations and obligations under applicable trade secret law. This is not just the employee’s responsibility; employers can also be liable when a new employee violates obligations to their former employers.
- The video is designed to help educate workers about how to avoid even accidentally misappropriating trade secrets and unlawfully interfering with their employer’s customers and remaining workforce.
- While following the suggestions in the video will not necessarily prevent a lawsuit, it will help identify the key reasons that frequently lead employers to sue their former employees (and their new employer) and some steps employees can take to help reduce the likelihood of being sued.
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The second in the series – Protecting Trade Secrets While Working Remotely – is designed for companies and employees to learn how to identify and protect against the common risks to trade secrets in a remote (or hybrid remote) work environment:
This training provides companies and employees with quick, easy-to-understand guidelines for how to minimize the risks posed to trade secrets while employers are working in a remote location.
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The third in the series – The Exit Plan: Being a Good Leaver – is for employee before they decide to leave a job:
This training is perhaps the most critical.
It is the first chance for employees to understand how to prevent liability before the risk arises, and it supplements our short blog post, Leaving your job? Don’t take anything… anything! New employers take note.
- It walks employees through the steps to take to avoid even accidentally taking their employer’s trade secrets or other confidential information before they leave.
- It alerts employees to the critical knowledge they need if they have already taken company information in anticipation of leaving.
- It also provides important guidance on how to avoid even inadvertently violating obligations to not solicit customers or colleagues when preparing to leave a company.
The video is designed not just for direct access by workers, but for potential employers, as well as recruiting companies and staffing companies, to provide to candidates they are working with.
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Finally, because people often believe that if they don’t know the equivalent of the secret formula to Coca-Cola, then they don’t know their employer’s trade secrets and are therefore free to use the information they’ve learned at work for a competitor. For those people, we created Fair Competition Law Basics – What is a Trade Secret?:
In our experience, there is substantial confusion about what information is protectable. Understanding that “trade secrets” is an expansive term is foundational to understanding the scope of obligations concerning an employer’s (or business partner’s) confidential information. This video is designed to provide that foundation.
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More videos are coming! Tell us what you would find helpful.
We know first-hand how hard it is to keep up with the ever-changing requirements around the country. To help, we have created the following resources (available for free):
- 50-State Noncompete Law Chart, the first of its kind (created in 2010) and regularly updated, as the laws evolve (downloadable PDF);
- Trade secret (and other legitimate business interest) protection plan strategy and checklist (downloadable PDF upon request);
- Chart of Noncompete “Low Wage” Thresholds and Criteria (downloadable PDF);
- Notice requirements summary chart, providing details for each of the 8 states (plus D.C.) that has notice requirements related to noncompetes (downloadable PDF);
- 50-State and Federal Trade Secret Law Chart, providing a comparison of the trade secrets laws nationally to the Uniform Trade Secrets Act (downloadable PDF); and
- “Changing Trade Secrets | Noncompete Laws” (dedicated blog page) now provides a current, detailed summary of the changing landscape of trade secret laws and noncompete laws around the country, state by state and at the federal level.
We hope you find all of these resources useful.
In addition, whether you’re a business owner, CEO, in-house counsel, HR executive, or other employee, or a new lawyer or advanced practitioner, please join me, together with my co-hosts, Ben Fink and John Marsh, for a discussion of the latest trends and hot topics, evolving federal and state laws, key developments, and other emerging issues in the law of trade secrets, noncompetes, and employee mobility on our podcast, FairlyCompeting.
 Because of the FTC’s plan to ban noncompetes and “de facto” noncompetes – key tools for protecting trade secrets and customer goodwill – and an increasing number of states limiting the use of noncompetes, we decided to make the videos freely available and free. The videos are for educational purposes only. They are not legal advice, nor does their use establish an attorney-client relationship. The videos can also be made bespoke upon request, for a fee.