Statutes that protect the rights of the owners of trade secrets protect against ‘misappropriation’ of confidential information, which requires a defendant to take or use the trade secret without permission.
The inevitable disclosure doctrine can prevent an employee from working for another when the new job would inevitably require the use of the trade secrets of the former employ. Intent to misappropriate the information is not an element.
A party seeking to prevent disclosure of a trade secret under the inevitable disclosure doctrine will probably not be able to pursue the remedies available under the federal Defend Trade Secrets Act or the state Uniform Trade Secrets Act.
When a key executive with access to key data leaves an information-intensive position to start a competing business, does the fact that inevitably the former employee will make use of sensitive state a claim under federal law? Quite possibly not.
The federal Defend Trade Secrets Act (DTSA ) and the uniform state law on which it is modelled turns on the concept of misappropriation and without it, there may be no basis. Inevitable disclosure is a common-law doctrine and in itself may not create a right to sue under the these trade secret statutes.
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The inevitable disclosure doctrine is legal principle in trade secret law that enables a former employer to prevent a former employee from accepting a new position with a rival if the new position’s responsibilities will unavoidably cause the person to divulge the trade secrets of the former employer. The doctrine may apply even if fthe former employer lacks concrete evidence that the employee has actually taken trade secrets or threatened to do so.
The Difference Between the DTSA and the Inevitable Disclosure Doctrine
In a federal court action, Paro Inc., a Delaware corporation, unsuccessfully sought an emergency temporary restraining order against former employee Luke Kohan, a New York resident, and his newly founded company, FirmKey Solutions LLC, claiming Kohan was in breach of a restrictive covenant and had misappropriated trade secrets. Paro, an artificial intelligence-powered marketplace, provides various finance and accounting solutions to businesses through its AI-powered platform. Continue reading