The federal Computer Fraud and Abuse Act (CFAA) doesn’t grant employers any legal recourse if an employee misuses information obtained from company computers, according to a recent federal court ruling.
The case involved a company that sued three ex-employees for misusing proprietary data. The court ruled that only information obtained by “intentionally accessing the computer without authorization” violated the law. Since the three had authorization to access the information at the time, they did not violate the CFAA.
Advice: Protect your intellectual property by carefully crafting a noncompete agreement that addresses what employees may and may not do with proprietary information after they leave.