Business Ethics: The Doctrine of Secrecy

In the late 18th century, after developing the world's first cotton-spinning machinery, Britain took strong steps to protect its technological lead. Textile workers were forbidden to leave England, and those who did forfeited their property and citizenship. From such harsh precedent has developed over the years a formidable file of U.S. court decisions covering the protection of trade secrets. Last week, in two separate lawsuits, U.S. corporations were again testing the subject.

Memory's Tricks. The contenders in one case were the B. F. Goodrich Co.. developer, with the Navy, of the Mercury astronauts' suits, and International Latex Corp.. which recently...

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