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When an employee leaves, make sure your trade secrets stay behind

If a trade secret or intellectual property is an important factor in the success of your Florida business, it is critical to ensure that the information stays protected after employees leave your company. You may benefit from requiring all employees to sign non-compete or nondisclosure agreements, but there are certain factors you must consider in order to ensure that these contracts are binding and enforceable.

What is a trade secret and why should you take legal steps to protect it?

A trade secret is any device, formula, process or information that provides your business a competitive advantage and sets your products or services apart from the competition. Trade secrets vary greatly in type and importance, but may include the following:

  • Formula for a food or drink
  • Certain manufacturing processes
  • A new product with no patent
  • Specific algorithms or production techniques

Like other forms of intellectual property, you should be very careful to protect trade secrets from both the public and competitors. A non-compete or nondisclosure agreement is a common way to ensure that your company information remains where it should, even after an employee or other person with access to that information moves on to another employment opportunity. It is critical that even the most trusted of employees sign carefully worded contracts prohibiting the sharing of your trade secrets.

Violations of non-compete agreements

Your business can suffer serious financial consequences should your intellectual property make its way into the wrong hands. If you are certain a non-compete agreement was violated or you suspect that this occurred, you must take legal action as soon as possible. With the help of an experienced business litigation attorney, you can pursue the legal recourse most appropriate for your situation if any of the following happened to you:

  • Client list was shared with competitor
  • Marketing plans, pricing strategies or other secret information was misappropriated
  • Competitor interference with your current clients
  • Fraudulent or misleading information about your business released to public

Either through negotiation or trial, you can hold the appropriate parties accountable for the violation of your non-compete agreement and the financial damage done to your business.

A simple step for long-term protection

Unlike the extraordinary steps that some companies take to protect trade secrets, the appropriate solution for your business is quite simple. A carefully drafted non-compete or nondisclosure contract can protect the intellectual property you have worked hard to obtain, and with a few simple steps, you can have peace of mind knowing that the unique nature of your company will remain private and secure for years to come.

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