When a person leaves your company, even if that person is you, the founder, there are rules in place that prevent trade secrets from being used to harm the company. Chief executive officers (CEOs) often believe that they’re immune from these rules, but there is a possibility that you could be accused of stealing your own trade secrets if you’re fired from your company.
This is an interesting situation, and one that businesses have to protect themselves against. According to a July 23 report, a man who claims he retired from the Human Longevity Institute has been accused of stealing trade secrets from the company that he founded. Interestingly, the company is claiming that the man was fired, not that he retired.
The man, a prominent genomics researcher, has been accused of stealing trade secrets from HLI. He founded the company in 2013, leaving in May 2018. J. Craig Venter, the accused, is a famous biotech researcher. He sequenced the human genome. He started the J. Craig Venter Institute in 2006 and HLI as well.
He left his institute, HLI, this year after claiming to have retired, although the institute states that he was fired. He left the company with his company computer, according to the lawsuit, immediately using it to create a competitor to HLI. The attorney for Venter’s J. Craig Venter Institute, the defendant in the trade secrets lawsuit, states that the lawsuit has no merit and has many factual errors that could render it worthless.
With trade secrets, it’s hard to explain if someone can be accused of stealing something he or she designed. This is the kind of situation to work with an attorney with to prevent lawsuits.