The trade secret litigation filed by Waymo against Uber has been fascinating on several levels, and the dispute only promises to get more interesting if trial proceeds as scheduled in October. I’ve included a link below where potential damages have been pegged by Waymo, as plaintiff in the pending trade secret misappropriation litigation, at $2.6B. A huge damages figure by any standard, even for a company with a stratospheric valuation like Uber.
While self-driving technology may not interest or apply to a significant amount of business owners, the underlying lesson of this litigation should be heeded. Namely, if you own, operate, or run a business, and you are considering a new employee for hire who may possess trade secrets and/or confidential information held by a competitor, great emphasis should be placed on understanding and abiding by the legal requirements imposed on your company with respect to the trade secrets and confidential information that the prospective employee may continue to maintain of his former employer. This would include an understanding of applicable Federal and state law and determining whether any written agreements were executed by the employee and his or her former employer that would govern the duties and obligations of the parties relating to protected confidential information and trade secrets.
On the flip side, if you are hiring employees and are in a competitive field where confidential information and trade secrets held by your company are highly valued, it makes sense to have written agreements in place with all employees who would have access to trade secrets and confidential information to adequately protect your business in the event of a misappropriation in the future.