What is a trade secret and do I need a trade secret lawyer? If you find yourself looking for the answers to these or similar questions, the answer is most likely yes!
What Are Trade Secrets?
Trade secrets are a form of intellectual property. Trade secrets essentially include any business information or data that is kept secret or “confidential” by you or your company. If disclosed to others, this trade secret would give another company a competitive advantage. The confidential information or “secret sauce” could include something as simple as a secret family recipe that is used at a restaurant or in the manufacturing of food products. On the other hand, it could include the most complex business formulas, techniques, strategies, or processes. Although trade secrets have been around for a very long time, recent federal laws and a general shift in business concerns are creating an increased focus on trade secret protection and litigation of any unauthorized disclosure.
Protecting Trade Secrets
An experienced trade secret lawyer can assist in properly protecting trade secret information from unlawful disclosure. This could include drafting and advising on non-compete agreements, non-disclosure agreements, and non-solicitation agreements. All of these may include provisions designed to protect against unlawful disclosure of your company’s trade secret information to others. A trade secret lawyer can also advise on best practices to maintain the confidential nature of trade secret information. This reduces the risk of inadvertent disclosure. Among other things, this could include accurate identification of trade secrets, addressing security and monitoring of trade secret information, and employee training and policies with regard to trade secret protection.
How Can a Trade Secret Lawyer Help?
In the event someone has obtained your company’s trade secret information unlawfully, a trade secret lawyer can help. They will help you take the necessary steps to prevent further disclosure and/or seek recovery of damages to your company. In the event of disclosure, time is often of the essence. A lawyer familiar with the process can initiate a lawsuit seeking to enjoin or restrict others, including your company’s former employees, from disclosing or using your company’s trade secret information. Additionally, quick assessment and advice regarding maintaining and/or searching for forensic evidence related to an unlawful disclosure can be essential for subsequent trade secret litigation. Ultimately, a trade secret lawyer can also seek to recover any damages you or your company has suffered from unauthorized use of your trade secrets.
Lastly, on the flip side, employees are increasingly more mobile and change jobs more frequently. And, it’s often within the same industry and among competitors. In this environment, a company runs the risk of allegations of trade secret misappropriation. This is especially true if a new employee previously worked for a competitor. An experienced trade secret lawyer can evaluate allegations of misappropriation of trade secrets and rigorously defend your company should it develop into a lawsuit.
Rogge Dunn Group’s trade secret lawyers have extensive experience advising on trade secret protection issues and litigating trade secret disputes. To contact the business lawyers at Rogge Dunn Group, click here.