The recent decision in Decision Insights, Inc. v. Sentia Group, Inc., No. 09-2300 (4th Cir., Jan. 28, 2011), features two reversals of district court decisions involving a bedrock trade secrets principle: just because a secret recipe uses publicly available ingredients, it does not necessarily mean that the recipe is not a secret.
The criminal prosecution recently began of Sergey Aleynikov, a former Goldman Sachs computer programmer accused of stealing the computer code underlying Goldman’s high-frequency trading programs. When Aleynikov was taken into custody by the FBI, he reportedly said he did not intend to take any proprietary code. Rather, he intended to take only open source code. What’s the difference and what indispensible lesson should companies take away?