June 12, 2018
If you own a business that is reliant upon trade secrets for the success of your business, you are not alone. You will want to ensure protection of your intellectual property at all costs. It can be challenging to trust employees to carry out their job duties without taking your trade secret for their own gain or sharing them with your competitor. There are a number of ways to protect your business and your trade secret from being misappropriated. The world of intellectual property can be complicated; working with a business lawyer Danbury, CT trusts will work to your benefit. They can help you put measures in place to protect your business and your intellectual property.
A trade secret is a form of intellectual property. It can be an idea, recipe, marketing strategy or a manufacturing structure that gives your business an advantage. Protecting your trade secret primarily involves putting appropriate measures in place to ensure that your trade secret is not shared with a competitor. There are a number of ways a business owner can achieve this. In order to ensure that your trade secret is legally protected, you will need to take the following steps:
- Your trade secret must be kept secret or only shared confidentially
- Your trade secret must have value or give your company a competitive edge, requiring it be kept secret.
- The business should take steps to ensure that the trade secret is protected.
Taking these steps, will allow you to take legal action in the event that your trade secret is misappropriated. Consulting with an attorney may be helpful to determine the best way to protect your trade secret.
Although it can be difficult to come to terms with, your employees can play a significant part in the protection of your trade secret. An attorney may advise you to require employees to sign the following agreements, which can provide you with an added layer of protection:
Requiring employees to sign non-disclosure agreements (NDA) can help to ensure that your trade secrets are not taken to a competitor. Non-disclosure agreements outline that an employee will keep the trade secret of the company confidential and will not share it for their own gain or other business dealings.
A non-compete agreement or clauses keep employees from going to the competitor for employment. They also can protect a business from an employee moonlighting with a competitor in their off hours or as a second job. A non-compete clause can be helpful to ensuring that an employee or former employee does not share trade secrets or key elements of their business with a competitor.
Taking Good Care of Your Employees
With strong leadership, an employee can build job satisfaction and ultimately, loyalty to the business they are employed by. There are a number of ways to build employee loyalty, including:
- Listen to your employees
- Have good communication with them
- Put expectations and policies in place around you intellectual property
- Take good care of your employees by providing them with incentives and opportunities to grow professionally
- Offer fair salaries; pay what your competitor pays. This can mitigate the desire to work for your competitor.
- Provide good benefits packages
- Employee of the month
Investing in your employees can go a long way. By listening to them and communicating clearly your expectations regarding the business, you can build a strong and loyal team of employees. While there are never any guarantees, taking these steps can mitigate an employees desire to misappropriate trade secrets.
If you are a business owner with intellectual property like trade secrets that need protecting, meeting with a business law attorney may be in your best interest.
Thank you to our friends and contributors at Sweeney Legal for their knowledge about business law.