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Recent statistics have indicated a rise in the number of attempts by employees or former employees to misappropriate an employer’s confidential information and trade secrets. Oliver Spratt looks at what employers can do to prevent this.
It is estimated that one company in five has suffered at least one attempt to steal trade secrets in the past 10 years. This increase would appear to be a byproduct of a growth in the number of outsourcings and collaborations between companies, combined with easier and faster access to data via the internet. The improved job market and subsequent rise in mobility of employees are further indicators of the growing importance to employers of ensuring that they adequately protect their confidential information and trade secrets.
So, how can employers do this through the effective drafting of post-termination restrictions (and other contractual provisions) in their employment contracts? How and when might such covenants be introduced during the employment relationship? And what options are available to employers in the event of a theft – or potential theft – of this nature?
Defining confidential data
As a starting point, it is important to understand what is meant by “confidential information”. While there is no statutory definition o