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Are my trade secrets safe?

On Behalf of | Apr 15, 2020 | Business Law |

Employees can be one of the greatest assets of a business,  helping a business grow and providing support in a variety of areas.

Unfortunately, employees can also become a liability when they leave. One liability that may arise occurs when an employee leaves their employment, taking intimate and confidential knowledge of the business with them.

As a result, knowing how to protect your business, including confidential and trade secret information, is critical.  Fortunately, there are a number of tools that employers can utilize to protect their information, including non-disclosure agreements, non-solicitation agreements, and non-compete agreements.

Consider using a non-disclosure agreement, non-compete agreement, or non-solicitation agreement

You spend a lot of time recruiting the best employees, and your competitors are watching. When another company sees your top-performing employees, they may try to recruit them both for their talent and their inside information.

If you are in a competitive field or there are similar businesses in your area, a non-disclosure agreement (NDA) can help protect your company’s trade secrets. An NDA reminds your employees that your company’s information is valuable, and they cannot share it.

Similarly, a non-compete or non-solicit agreement can be utilized to ensure that your employees do not utilize the confidential and trade secret information obtained during their employment with your business, and immediately use that information to the advantage of a third-party.

Contracts help identify what information is confidential and protected.

At the beginning of the employment relationship, contracts that include a non-disclosure agreement, non-compete agreement, and non-solicit agreement help identify to employees the types of information that is confidential and trade secret. This can be utilized to let the employee know what information your company has spent time cultivating and should not be shared. When employees know what information you are protecting, they are accountable for maintaining confidentiality.

As an added precaution, it can be beneficial to  detail the specific information you are protecting in your non-disclosure agreements. Do not assume that making a general statement about the types of included information is enough.

When your employees are clear about what is secret information and that you have the legal tools to enforce unauthorized disclosure, they are less likely to violate your confidence.