In tort law, the doctrine of contributory negligence captures conduct by the plaintiff that falls below the standard to which he should conform for his own protection. Whether one has been contributorily negligent is determined by an objective standard of reasonableness under the circumstances. This Article, for the first time, applies contributory negligence principles to trade secret law. It draws upon this doctrine to frame and analyze a challenge posed by modem technology. The very technological tools in use today that increase the efficiency with which companies do business also create challenges for trade secret protection. What might have been a "reasonable" precaution ten years ago to protect a trade secret is not necessarily reasonable today in light of the changed circumstances created by technology. These changes increase the risk of trade secret misappropriation, and trade secret owners must be mindful to have adequate security measures, both technical and process-based, to deal with these enhanced risks.
Elizabeth A. Rowe, Contributory Negligence, Technology, and Trade Secrets, 17 Geo. Mason L. Rev. 1 (2009), available at http://scholarship.law.ufl.edu/facultypub/89