Employee Theft of Trade Secrets – Protecting the Family Jewels

One of the most valuable assets of any company is its intellectual property. Although technology has led to great efficiencies, it has also created new exposures for businesses, particularly with respect to the protection of valuable trade secrets. One of the key tools in a litigator’s arsenal in the fight against theft of trade secrets is the Computer Fraud and Abuse Act (CFAA). It prohibits a person from intentionally accessing a computer without authorization or exceeding authorized access to obtain information, perpetrate a fraud, or cause damage. Unfortunately, the issues are not always straightforward. Issues have arisen about the extent to which a business can use the CFAA to protect its information because there are conflicting views among the courts on the meaning of “authorization.”

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