In Navigant Consulting v. Wilkinson et al., the Fifth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals affirmed a jury verdict requiring two employees to pay more $2 million to their former employer for breach of fiduciary duty, breach of contract regarding confidential information, and misappropriation of trade secrets. This case emphasizes the wisdom in taking precautions to protect trade secrets and confidential information.
Steps that employers can take to protect trade secrets and confidential information include:
- Identify confidential information.
- Identify classes of employees who should sign agreements not to disclose confidential information or trade secrets and develop a procedure for obtaining these agreements.
- Set an exit procedure to remind employees of their obligations regarding protected information.
- Maintain physical security over documents containing protected information.
- Train managers on the need to protect and enforce confidential information and trade secret obligations.
- Take action to enforce the company’s rights.