To obtain and maintain the benefits of the law regarding trade secrets, unfair competition and contracts, you should take the following precautions and actions
- Identify all “Confidential Information” that gives you an advantage over your competitors, including but not limited to: documents, prototypes, customer lists, supplier lists, distributor lists; technical and nontechnical information related to inventing, discovering, researching, designing, engineering, developing, programming, manufacturing, marketing, distributing, purchasing and/or selling of your products and/or processes; and methods, processes, ideas, algorithms, apparatus, equipment, specifications, formulae, computer programs, applications, patents, copyrights, know-how, and trade secrets related to your products and/or processes.
- Where possible, clearly mark all such Confidential Information with a CONFIDENTIAL notice.
- Keep all crucial and important Confidential Information in a protected area to which only authorized personnel have access.
- Require that all of your employees sign an appropriate Employment Agreement that includes an obligation to maintain the confidentiality of your trade secret information, an obligation not to compete with you or your company for a specific but reasonable period of time following termination of employment, and an obligation to assign to you all copyrights, inventions, etc., that the employee develops while employed by you. We can help you prepare an appropriate Employment Agreement to meet your particular needs.
- Instruct your employees concerning the extreme importance of maintaining the secrecy, integrity, and confidentiality of such Confidential Information.
- With the exception of your attorneys, require all other persons having access to your Confidential Information but are not your employees to sign an appropriate Confidentiality And Nondisclosure Agreement, which in many respects is similar to the Employment Agreement discussed above, and keep a record of all Confidential Information that is disclosed to such non-employee persons.
- Keep a record of all persons visiting your business premises with an indication of the person’s name, company they represent, date, and arrival and departure times.
- Take appropriate action when Confidential Information is discarded to confirm that such information is appropriately destroyed by burning or shredding.
There are laws on both the federal and state level designed to protect trade secrets and/or prevent corporate espionage and unfair competition. If you have any questions related to a particular legal matter, we strongly suggest that you contact an attorney skilled in this area of the law. We would be happy to answer your questions, and assist you in these matters. This is what we do.