A former researcher scientist who worked for Bridgestone tire company has been charged with 15 counts of intellectual property theft. His attorney, however, is claiming that the man is not guilty because he lacked the intent to economically benefit himself or a rival of Bridgestone’s. This is an interesting story for Sacramento readers because it provides something of an insight into the world of corporate espionage.
Allegedly, the 50-year-old man burned proprietary information from Bridgestone computers to six CDs in 2010. When FBI agents raided his home, they claimed they found the CDs, which contained trade secrets. A “trade secret” is information that is important to the way a company does business and derives some of its value from being not widely known, especially to competitors.
The man’s attorney is claiming that the CDs actually contained a mixture of information that did properly belong to Bridgestone and was improperly removed and information that belonged to the man himself and was not proprietary. The man’s attorney has argued that any removal of Bridgestone information was unintentional and that the man never intended to sell anything. It’s basically a “no harm, no foul” defense – because the man never planned to and did not sell the information, he should be allowed to go free.
As you can see, trade secrets and the protection they afford to vital business information can become quite important. If you are interested in learning more about trade secrets and whether your business is doing enough to protect and utilize them, you might consider speaking to an intellectual property attorney about the matter.
Source: The Cleveland Plain Dealer, “Ex-scientist at Bridgestone in Akron indicted in trade-secrets case,” Alison Grant, Aug. 14, 2012