A Generational View of Trade Secret Theft

Posted by Benjamin I. Fink on

I recently had the opportunity to speak at a trade secret symposium in Chicago hosted by Ocean Tomo.  At the symposium, I met Elizabeth Rowe who is an Associate Professor of Law at the University of Florida, Levin College of Law.  Ms. Rowe gave the keynote address at the symposium. In 2009, Ms. Rowe wrote a fascinating academic article titled A Sociological Approach to Misappropriation

In the article, Ms. Rowe applies a sociological analysis to trade secret law by analyzing how the values and social norms of Generation X and Generation Y workers influence compliance with trade secrets laws.  As she explains, “unlike the Baby Boomers, these New Generation Employees are more likely to change jobs quickly, protect and prioritize their self-interests, expect immediate gratification and rewards from employers, start their own companies and use technology with great ease.  These attitudes and behaviors map closely to the narratives that are often present in trade secret misappropriation cases.”

I would highly recommend this article to any business owner or manager who employs Generation X and Generation Y employees, as it offers insights into what motivates employees to steal trade secrets and offers suggestions for preventive measures that can be taken to protect trade secrets from misappropriation.

Here is a link to the article:  http://scholarship.law.ufl.edu/cgi/viewcontent.cgi?article=1126&context=facultypub