Motorola Sued By Lemko For Trade Secret Theft in Chicago

A recent lawsuit filed in Chicago alleges that giant cell phone company Motorola misappropriated trade secrets on technology that allows cellular networks to track emergency callers.

This lawsuit comes down to employment issues that Chicago small businesses deal with all the time.

This is especially true with technology start-ups because of how intense the competition is and how high-impact the development of new technologies can be. In this global economy, new technology is perhaps the most valuable asset a company can have. Being able to create something that completely changes the face of business or consumer products can be very profitable.

But it can also be easily pilfered by employees who leave the company and take the company's trade secrets with them. This is why a small business start-up must consult with an experienced Chicago small business attorney.

Many small business owners are so concerned with office space, financing, registering the business and other important first-step acts that they don't consider the implications of structuring employment contracts, establishing policies and handbooks and making sure there are provisions to ensure employees don't steal company secrets when they leave.

In this case, Lemko Corp. alleges, an engineer that created technology that allows emergency callers from cell phones to be detected by law enforcement went to Motorola because she had "access to and knowledge of Lemko's trade secrets," according to a lawsuit filed in Chicago.

The engineer left Lemko, the lawsuit states, and then was hired by Motorola, which then incorporated the technology into its phones. The giant cell phone company, which is being acquired by Google Inc., allegedly destroyed computer files showing that it used Lemko's computer code. The engineer was fired in 2008, Bloomberg reports.

Lemko is asking for compensation for the loss of royalties as well as unspecified damages. The company alleges the engineer should have known or did know that she would be using her former company's trade secrets in creating the technology for Motorola.

Trade secrets are a major factor in making sure a business is successful and they can be illegally stolen through a variety of means. Trade shows can lead to leaked secrets, but employees tend to be a major source of this type of theft. A strongly worded and appropriately written employment contract can ensure that employees don't run off with important details or intellectual property that belongs to the company.

Intellectual property includes branding, trade secrets, and other developed ideas that a company relies on in order to thrive. An experienced Chicago business litigation attorney can help companies implement these secrets and protect them from outside businesses. From trademark registration to protecting those secrets along the way, this is one area of business that can't be taken lightly.

In this ultra-competitive market, companies must do all they can to protect what is theirs and what they have developed through their own hard work. Letting employees take this technology and carry it to competitors can have a crippling effect on a small business.

Jeremy A. Gibson & Associates is a law firm dedicated to business litigation in Chicago and elsewhere in Illinois. Call 877-452-4529 for a free consultation.

Additional Resources:

Motorola Mobility Accused in Lemko Lawsuit Alleging Theft of Trade Secrets, by Andrew Harris and Karen Gullo, Bloomberg