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Under Lock And Key

Employees know secrets their former bosses don't want them sharing.

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This story appears in the July 2000 issue of Entrepreneur. Subscribe »

With so many workers job-hopping these days-especially in the high-tech and IT industries-it's inevitable that they take some trade secrets with them. "Once exposed to trade secrets, it's often difficult for an employee to purge them from memory when working in the same field for a new employer," says James Gatto, an intellectual property and technology lawyer for Hunton & Williams in Richmond, Virginia.

Nowadays, the passing of trade secrets has little to do with espionage. "What happens most frequently is someone is hired by an employer to work on the same kind of product or project that they've been working on for a competing company," Gatto says.

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