Wednesday, March 08, 2006, 3/08/2006 01:36:00 PM

Who Needs a Computer Forensics Expert?

By Todd
We've covered a significant number of cases decided by various state and federal courts and told you a good bit about our take on these cases and decisions made by the courts. One of the things we haven't covered is a practical question: HOW DOES ONE ASSEMBLE EVIDENCE THAT A TRADE SECRET HAS BEEN MISAPPROPRIATED?

If these were the good old days of attache cases and single copies of important documents, the answer would be clear - you need to obtain an affidavit that the attache case and important company document were missing. Things have radically changed, of course, and one of the things we all know is that information and data are kept in and on computers and databases in those computers. Quite commonly, then, the answer to the question about assembling evidence in a trade secret theft case is "a forensic computer search."

Some of the various things we've personally witnessed a computer forensic search turning up are: (a) last-minute downloads of customer lists; (b) out-of-office copying of entire customer and product databases; (c) destruction of valuable research data; and even (d) short and long term business plan and market forecasting data. These are just examples. Sometimes the information of the departing employee or contractor theft can be re-created by existing IT professionals from within the firm. But sometimes those IT professionals do not have the skill-sets necessary to re-create of find the necessary evidence. In those cases it can be imperative to seek the assistance of a computer forensics expert.

There are scores of companies in this business and we've worked with many of them. Should you ever need a computer forensics expert's assistance, we recommend that you consider contacting the International High Technology Crime Association for recommendations of a computer forensics expert near you. Their website is listed in the link above.

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