What can you take when you leave the bank?
Hint: Not the code
This August top traders left bank Goldman to join a hedge fund only to be accused of taking sensitive code.
Is this a restriction on their ability to work, a way of reducing the competitive threat or is it a genuine case over trade secrets theft?
This follows one of the longest running trade secret theft cases, also involving Goldman, where they accused a programmer of stealing high frequency trading source code. This case started in 2009 and through hearings, judgements and appeals was still running 8 years later with over $7m of defendant legal fees on the clock! In part this was because the law was catching up with the nonphysical nature of ‘code’.
Banks are very sensitive about loss of confidential information and know-how as it can be easily transferred to benefit a competitor. Financial services companies now cite trade secrets theft as a major worry and it seems a few of them are seeking to control losses using a range of means. I suspect this falls under risk management rather than business intellectual property, but it is certain that intellectual property can be used to defend against deliberate theft and misappropriation of confidential information especially when they are classified as trade secrets.
Code and data can be protected using database rights, trade secrets, copyright and occasionally patents. Also employment and IT terms and conditions will help.
Are you worried about loss of confidential information for example when staff leave to join a competitor?
How does this apply in your business?
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For over 20 years I have been helping business to Win With IP: Using intellectual property to protect ideas, creations, inventions, and competitive advantage.
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