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Trade Secrets: Secrecy is not Enough

A young biotech company is poaching from a small pool of elite European molecular geneticists at an established firm. Britain is in  recession; a quango is involved, a US university and a headhunter are prowling for fresh talent. Jobs are swapped, injunctions sought and an Appeals Court judge laments distinguished scientists left ‘glowering’ at each other at the back of the court. Trade secrets with oncological implications and a treatment for stomach ulcers are at stake.

It’s 1982, and the judges are perhaps a little old-fashioned in defending the honour and professional reputations of all gentlemen involved. Nevertheless, Lords Cumming-Bruce and Templeman lay the ground for positioning the English law of industrial secrets atop the old law of employee confidentiality.


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Tim Farrell has been in the computer business for 30 years, as an engineer, author and highly successful entrepreneur. He cofounded FutureSoft in 1982, providing communications software for the earliest versions of Windows (including the second commercially available product on that operating system), and has retained a leadership role in the company since its inception. During the past 27 years, Tim’s work with the pharmaceutical and medical sector has encompassed everything from pharmaceutical manufacturers to hospitals and clinics.

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