November 17, 2006

TechDirt-Reminder: When Ditching Your Company To Build A Competing Product, Don't Discuss It On Work Computers

Earlier this year, we noted that Yahoo had sued some former employees after they jumped ship (as a group) to another company -- but discussed the move using Yahoo's instant messenger before moving on -- allowing Yahoo to claim that the group took trade secrets with them to the new company. While it seems particularly short-sighted to use Yahoo's IM product while at Yahoo to discuss such things, if you're using a company's computers, it really doesn't matter what tool you're using. VentureBeat notes that Iconix has convinced a judge to issue an injunction against a startup, after Iconix reviewed instant messenger messages between two former employees while they were still at the company discussing their plans for the new company. In the messages, one of them even admits that he's confused over which company they are talking about. It probably does happen all the time, but if you're planning on jumping ship from your current company, you should probably find some other way to discuss it.

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