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Trade secrets: Protecting what is most important

In a time when there are few secrets and privacy is rare, businesses must explore every available measure in order to protect trade secrets. This can be a difficult task, primarily because the drafting of non-compete or confidentiality agreements is complicated. If your business success depends in part or entirely on proprietary information, you must have legal contracts that are enforceable.

Why businesses need non-compete agreements

The law allows companies to protect their interests through legal agreements with employees. The contracts commonly used include non-compete, non-dealing, non-solicitation, non-poaching and non-disclosure agreements. The benefits of these types of agreements extend to businesses that rely on the following to maintain a competitive advantage with trade secrets:

  • Secret formulas
  • Special manufacturing processes
  • Secret recipes
  • Computer codes or algorithms
  • Client lists
  • Other private information

An agreement between you and your employee should ensure that your employee cannot release your business information to a competitor in case he or she moves on to another employment opportunity. In order for these contracts to have teeth, they must be fair, demonstrate that your interests are truly at stake and be very clear in terms of scope, duration and geographical range.

What happens if a former employee violates your agreement?

If certain information gets into the wrong hands, it can be financially devastating to your company. While this is certainly a complicated and stressful situation, it is important to take quick action to protect your interests. By working with an experienced business litigation attorney, you can learn how you can take legal action to stop the damage and seek compensation for any financial losses.

However, if a judge was to rule that a non-compete agreement was overreaching or burdensome to your former employee, the dispute may not go your way. It is far better to avoid these situations by ensuring any non-compete agreement is appropriate.

Act today to avoid trouble tomorrow

Avoiding complications and costly legal battles in the future begins with taking effective legal measures today. If much is at stake for your company, you should work with a lawyer to draft agreements that are correct, assertive and strong enough to withstand scrutiny by a judge.

Employees may not always stay with your company, but, with the right help, you can have peace of mind knowing that your information will stay in the right place. This can happen when you use a non-compete agreement that acknowledges the rights of your employees and also protects your long-term interests.

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