A trade secret includes any valuable business information that is not generally known and is the subject of reasonable efforts to maintain its secrecy. A company’s trade secrets are at the heart of the company’s business. The entire business model may be based on it since it is used to create a competitive business advantage over one’s competitors. Trade secrets can include a multitude of information, such as: any formula, pattern, compilation, program, device, method, technique, or process; customer list or vendor list; purchasing habits and sales data for clients; technical specifications, business plans, financial information, or other proprietary business information.
It is not uncommon for a company’s trade secrets to be misappropriated (stolen) by a third party. A common scenario includes a former employee taking the employer’s trade secrets before he leaves to form a competing business or using the secret for the benefit of his new employer. In such a circumstance, both the former employee and his new employer may be liable for the theft.
If your company finds that your trade secrets have been misappropriated, you should consult with our attorneys to discuss taking immediate legal action. Timing is critical. If someone steals your trade secrets, the intention is usually to immediately use them to compete with your business. Our GED attorneys will explain the possibility of immediately obtaining an injunction, which is a court order prohibiting the person from using the stolen trade secrets until the case is finally resolved by the court. If an injunction is issued, it could be a huge step in resolving the matter early. In addition, you may be entitled to damages for the misuse of your trade secrets, including profits made from the misuse of the trade secret, royalties, punitive damages, and attorneys’ fees.
Our attorneys represent clients who claim that others have stolen their trade secrets, as well as clients who are accused of stealing trade secrets. If your trade secrets have been stolen from your business and disclosed to others, or if you have been accused of stealing another’s trade secrets, you should contact an attorney at GED to discuss your options. Our attorneys are skilled litigators with extensive experience in trade secret matters. We will aggressively pursue or defend the case.
While sometimes litigation cannot be avoided, your company can also take steps to prevent trade secret theft. As Ben Franklin said: An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure. Our attorneys can help you to take proactive measures to avoid trade secret thefts, including drafting company policies and procedures that you can implement for both employees and independent contractors.