Case: Protecting Intellectual Property
A large, multinational technology manufacturing company suspected several competitors of using headhunters and recruiters to target its top engineering talent. The client not only feared the loss of valuable engineers who were designing next generation products, but also the loss of intellectual property and confidential information that their employees could take to new employers.
A review of the recruitment tactics used by the headhunters and recruiters identified a number of commonalities and supported the client’s fears that some employees were offered lucrative bonuses to bring the client’s intellectual property and confidential information to their new employers. Investigations were initiated to identify targets for recruitment and determine whether the employees were in fact being targeted. At the same time, an education and awareness program was developed to inform the client’s employees of unethical recruitment tactics and to remind them of the penalties they faced for violating the binding secrecy agreements they had signed as a condition of employment.
Armed with the investigative findings, the client was able to forestall the loss of key employees to its competitors while stemming the flow of intellectual property and confidential information outside of the company. The company-wide education and awareness campaign effectively made the client’s employees less susceptible to recruitment approaches in the future. On another front, the client’s legal staff contacted their peers at several of the competitors and threatened to initiate legal action if the unethical recruitment tactics continued. Over the ensuing months, the client saw a marked decline in the loss of its key engineering talent from product development teams.