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Trade Secrets and Poaching Employees

This week Mark Zuckerberg, CEO of Facebook, testified in the Northern District of Texas after Facebook was named in a lawsuit alleging a theft of trade secrets. A former employee of plaintiff, ZeniMax Media, John Carmack, is alleged to have left his employer and taken some of its intellectual property on the way out the door. He was hired by Oculus VR, a maker of virtual reality software. Oculus was purchased by Facebook in 2014. Carmack is also accused of poaching employees of ZeniMax. The complaint alleges $2 billion in damages.

Read more about the lawsuit at http://www.jdjournal.com/2017/01/17/facebook-battles-2-billion-intellectual-property-lawsuit/

One lesson to learn here is to look carefully at any confidentiality agreements, non-solicitation agreements, or non-compete agreements before you sign them. Understand what it is you are agreeing to. An employment lawyer can help you understand the language of this type of agreement and how the courts interpret them. Make sure you get a copy of whatever you sign.

Another lesson here is to be very careful when leaving a job. Think carefully about what you agreed to when you started your employment and review copies of any agreements you signed. You may want to contact an employment lawyer before you leave.

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