As Orange County business litigation attorneys, we fully understand that guarding trade secrets is vital to companies that create unique products and services. Deciding who has access to important information and what reasonable steps should be taken to protect trade secrets can prove challenging. When information is leaked and a competitor uses an undisclosed secret, it can have a devastating impact on a company’s profits. In such cases, legal guidance is needed to handle the situation with minimal disruption of business.
There is a reason why companies closely guard their trade secrets. When a company discovers something unique and profitable, the specific details of the discovery or invention whether it is a formulation or a process must be protected. This may be done by carefully selecting which employees will have access to the information and its use.
Action must be taken the moment a business discovers non-authorized use of a trade secret. An attorney will be needed to stop the wrongful use of the secret information quickly and efficiently. Often, the attorney does this with a written communication to the offending party. In other cases, an injunction in court against the offender may be needed to protect the business.
Of course, companies that believe their secrets have been stolen are not the only parties that need legal representation. Individuals and companies accused of misappropriating trade secrets need help too. In such cases, it is important to review details of the confidential information and seek a resolution to the disagreement that is acceptable to both companies.
Another way to prevent trade secrets from spreading is controlling where employees go after leaving the company. Many companies tend to do this by the use of non-compete agreements. California law, however, often disfavors these types of arrangements. It is not sufficient to have a clause preventing an employee to go to a competitor. This type of litigation can be complicated and a quick and efficient first action can make all the difference.
If information has been taken from your company, or if you have been wrongfully accused of stealing trade secrets, do not hesitate to research your legal options. You have the right to protect your company, your reputation, and your future.