If you’re thinking about how to protect your trade secrets, you may be thinking about a rare situation where an employee decides to sell out your secrets for a personal payday. You want to make sure it doesn’t happen, even though you think it’s uncommon and even unlikely.
Well, it may be a bit more likely than you think. One report actually claimed that most employees stole company secrets when they moved on to new jobs. Here are two key stats from the study:
- About 60% of employees who get fired or choose to leave a company end up stealing company information on the way out the door.
- About two-thirds of those employees, or 67%, then take the secrets they stole to their new jobs.
Is it always malicious? Perhaps not. Employees who get a new job may still work in the same field, after all, and they could just think of your trade secrets as something they learned over the years. It’s valuable knowledge, and they try to implement it at their new job to be more effective and to avoid getting fired. It’s not as if they intended to steal your secrets from their first day at work.
However, no matter how it happens, this type of theft can have a massive impact on your company. Your employees need access to your intellectual property to do their jobs, but you also need to make sure that those secrets do not leave with former workers. Make sure you know what legal options you have both before and after this happens.