Trade Secret

Topics: Patent, Secrecy, Morality Pages: 2 (733 words) Published: July 23, 2008
Trade secret
In regards of Schlossberger’s suggestion that the duty to respect trade secrets has limit and is overridden, it seem more emphasizing in whistle blowing aspect. So the question rises that under what conditions is whistle blowing moral justified? In my opinion, it does not matter what one’s obligations or confidentiality agreements, one is never exempt from the general obligations we have to our fellow human beings. One of the most fundamental of these obligations is not to cause harm to others. In particular, obligations of confidentiality and loyalty cannot take precedence over the fundamental duty to act in ways that prevent unnecessary harm to others. Agreements to keep something secret should have no moral standing unless that secret is morally justifiable itself. Such agreements should be morally void if the organization is engaged in illegal or immoral activities. In that case, one’s obligation to the public overrides one’s obligation to maintain secrecy. For example, one cannot have an obligation to keep secret a conspiracy to murder someone, because murder is an immoral act. It is for this reason also that employees have a legal obligation to report an employer who has committed or is about to commit a felony. For the same reason, an employee cannot justify participation in an illegal or immoral activity by arguing that one was merely following orders. Some people have argued that whistle blowing is never justified because employees have absolute obligations of confidentiality and loyalty to the organization for which they work. People who argue this way see no difference between employees who reveal trade secret by selling information to competitors and whistleblower who disclose activities harmful to others. They nullify the principle that one ought to refrain from whistle blowing because speaking out would cause harm to the organization. In conclusion with respect to engineers, though engineers are members of a profession that hold...
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