When David Kern filed a wrongful termination suit against his former employer, Palo Alto-based Varian Medical System Inc., little did he know that he would end up as the first person prosecuted under the Electronic Espionage Act.

Kern’s case against Varian, Kern v. Varian, 752203 — and the company’s countersuit, Varian v. Kern — should serve as a “warning call” to people who are considering stealing confidential information from their employers, Orrick, Herrington & Sutcliffe employment law partner Lynne Hermle says.

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