Trade secrets such formulas, computer algorithms and marketing strategies are often among the most valuable assets of California businesses, and protecting them is usually a high priority for business law attorneys. However, the courts may be placed in a delicate situation when hearing cases regarding trade secrets: They must weigh the promotion of competition and free enterprise against the wishes of a business to legitimately make the most of its strong position in the marketplace.
If you operate a business in California, its trade secrets are protected by the federal Uniform Trade Secrets Act. Violations of this law usually involve trade secrets being acquired by misrepresentation or theft or an individual breaching his or her legal duty to maintain secrecy. Damages in cases where trade secret rules have been violated can be high, and if your business wins such a case, it could be awarded exemplary damages and compensation for attorneys' fees and lost profits.
This kind of litigation often involves a former employee divulging confidential information to a competitor, and the secret nature of this type of communication makes these cases challenging for attorneys. Taking a proactive approach is one way to address this issue, and you may wish to consider having your attorneys communicate the consequences of trade secret malfeasance with former employees and their new employers.
Unlike other forms of intellectual property, trade secrets cannot be registered with authorities, and businesses are expected to take reasonable precautions to protect these valuable assets. One of our attorneys with experience in this complex area may be able to assist in these endeavors by drafting non-compete and non-disclosure agreements that clearly define boundaries. If you would like to learn more about protecting your business's intellectual property or trade secrets litigation, please visit our page containing information about these matters.
Source: Klein & Wilson, "Orange County Trade Secrets Litigation Lawyers", November 05, 2014