Protecting Trade Secrets in the Seventies

by William Glueck, Robert Mittelstaedt

Fall 1973

Volume 16
Issue 1

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The article focuses on protecting trade secrets in the 1970s. Changed conditions are causing serious problems for U.S. companies wishing to protect their trade secrets in the 1970s. The first condition affecting trade secrets today is ever increasing job mobility by key employees. Although somewhat reduced by the 1969-71 recession, about one in eight executives will leave their current employer. Frequently, when they leave their current employer, the executives join a competing firm, or form their own firm to compete with their previous employer. A recent survey by the Harvard Business School revealed that 65 percent of the executives surveyed felt it was ethical to join a competing firm when they change jobs. The second condition is an apparent increase in industrial spying and espionage. This problem is such that it is difficult to determine the extent and trends in it, but it can contribute to serious problems for the firm attempting to protect its secrets. A third condition that has made it more difficult to protect trade secrets is a series of court cases.

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