Over two (2) years ago (May 2017) I asked the question in a blog post titled, “Is There a Different IP Protection Policy for Star Employees?”.
WHY DID I ASK THIS QUESTION?
I asked this question based on the allegations that the former head of Google’s self-driving program (SCOTT LEVANDOWSKI) had just walked away with Google’s trade secrets and went over to Uber.
At the time, I was baffled that LEVANDOWSKI had not been criminally charged and that Google was pursuing it through a “civil” legal process.
Google and Uber settled on the “civil” side in 2018, the criminal issue–in regards to LEVANDOWSKI’s alleged trade secrets theft–had not been resolved.
ARE STAR-EMPLOYEES SPECIAL?
So, I couldn’t help asking the question: “Are star-employees special?”
In other words, is anybody keeping track of the IP the star-employee is keeping track of (and prepared to hold him accountable) if he allegedly slips away with some?
Well, Google’s resounding answer to that (as of today) is: Yes, absolutely.
FORMER GOOGLE STAR EXECUTIVE CHARGED
The U.S. Department of Justice and FBI started to investigate the allegations (the same month I wrote the May 2017 post) and today charged LEVANDOWSKI with 33 counts of trade secrets theft.
EXIT INTERVIEW / DEBRIEFING PROCESS
A related protection reminder is the critical issue of IP owners submitting star-employees to the same vigorous exit interview / debriefing process any employee is expected to submit to. No exceptions.
SO…WHAT IS THE MORAL OF THE STORY?
Nobody is that special when it comes protecting trade secrets.
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Good Job Ron
Yes the Moral of the story is important.
No One is Special
No One is above the law
I hope and wish that New, Politics and Law Enforcement aspire for Integrity