Friday, February 29

Law, law, law

Our first talk of the day was from John Akula from MIT on the topics of law issues with employment, with focus on trade secrets, loyalty, non-competitive agreements through an interactive case study. John went through some of the issues that surround employment from a US perspective, which was interesting to hear. I was surprised most by the at-will contracts that are common in the US, where an employee can leave at any time, or can be let go at any time, without notice, or reason. Although there are many courteous reasons to give notice, this doesn’t have to be the case. This obviously has many implications for job security, and therefore affects areas such as loyalty and trade secrets.

There are many differences between both the laws and the cultures between the US and UK regarding employment law and areas such as non-competitive agreements. Having come from the games industry, where there is a lot of anxiety surrounding these areas, it was fascinating to hear another perspective on this. I was glad to hear that there are States, such as California that ban non-competitive agreements, and it seems to be a factor in the success of Silicon Valley.

The interactive workshop worked really well in this situation, on what could have been a very dry topic. However the interested case studies, along with the insights from the fellows, who all have a variety of backgrounds that they were able to bring to this area made it an enjoyable session.

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