The typical scenario is the key employee, who leaves your employment and competes with you. It is usually a customer list, coupled with some other type of information, which would be the trade secret. Not all customer lists qualify as trade secrets. When an employer has extended time and effort identifying customers with particular needs or characteristics, the courts will prohibit former employees from using this information to capture a share of the market. The more difficult information is to obtain and the more time and resources expended by the employer in gathering it, the more likely it will be a trade secret.
Additional Information About Trade Secrets In California
The key is really understanding what a trade secret is and making sure a company is able to identify trade secrets and knows what they have to do to secure them and to make sure that they remain trade secrets. Set up some kind of internal system, where you are doing whatever is reasonable under the circumstances, to maintain confidentiality and secrecy. That is what companies need to be educated on.
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