With new technology, there are always new trends on what amounts to a trade secret. Still, it must contain information that has the economic value from not being generally known to your competitors, and it has got to be subject to efforts to maintain its confidentiality or secrecy. Each industry is going to have its own unique trade secrets that give one company some kind of competitive advantage over another.
How Can A Business Enforce Its Rights If Someone Steals Or Improperly Discloses Confidential Information?
When someone gets access to your trade secret, it is usually a former employee, who leaves your employment and goes to a business in competition with you. What you have to do is file a lawsuit. You can sue under the Uniform Trade Secrets Act. The goal would be to get a preliminary injunction. A preliminary injunction is something you can get while the lawsuit is pending before you have a final determination. You file the lawsuit, you do some discovery, and you file a motion that gives you either a temporary restraining order or a preliminary injunction, which lasts during the course of the lawsuit. Sometimes you have to post a bond, but the strategy is if you get a preliminary injunction early on, chances are the case is going to settle because the preliminary injunction is going to preclude the defendant from continuing to use the trade secret during the pendency of the lawsuit.
Do Companies Need To Be More Aware Of The Potential Risks In This Arena?
Trade secrets, often, are things that companies could spend hundreds of thousands of dollars to develop. It is a lot of hard work to develop them. Once you have identified your trade secrets, you have got to take every effort necessary to make sure that your competitors do not get hold of them. That takes away your competitive advantage. There is a tremendous risk in this area and most companies are not aware of it.
How Severe Is The Threat Of Losing Trade Secrets To A Departing Employee Or Executive?
One of the most common situations in trade secret litigation is when you have a former employee, who starts competing with you or goes to work for one of your competitors. First, you need have confidentiality agreements with your employees, in which you have to clearly specify what you expect of them and what their obligations are to keep your information confidential while they are employed by you, and when they leave your employment. Conduct an exit interview with these individuals and have them sign some kind of a certification, indicating that they have been informed about what is required of them and what consists of trade secrets.
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