A highly skilled worker for a technology company leaves to start a new, competing business. The former employer sues the one-time employee, now competitor, for theft of trade secrets. It is an increasingly common scenario in California and elsewhere, one that requires the plaintiff to prove that the knowledge used in the new endeavor represents secret information, to which the one-time worker would only have had access to through his or her work for the company, rather than prior general know-how.
If you own a business in California, you may have something very valuable within your organization that qualifies as a trade secret. If you do, it is essential to understand why they are so valuable. This is the only way to ensure you can protect them and keep them as a valuable company asset.
As California business owners know, protecting business assets is the same as protecting the core of the company. Assets can include everything from the product itself, to the things financially backing it. Trade secrets are one big piece of the pie.
When you hire someone to work for your California business, chances are, you do so because you find this person trustworthy, capable and credible. Regrettably, however, employer-employee relationships sometimes turn sour. If you do not take proper precautions to protect yourself and your business from the outset, you may find that your employees eventually move on and share your insights and intellectual property with your competitors. At Peterson Watts Law Group, LLP, we have helped many business owners make efforts to protect their trade secrets and intellectual property, helping them avoid potential problems before they lead to litigation.
In a general sense, trade secret misappropriation is the improper use or disclosure of information that a company has dedicated a significant amount of time and resources into developing and protecting. California is one of 47 states to have adopted the Uniform Trade Secrets Act, but even so, the way in which California courts approach misappropriation claims differs than how other states which have adopted the same laws would.
California is home to many technology companies and residents throughout the state use the products created by these companies in their everyday lives. The origin of the technology in cell phones and other devices can be complex and sometimes the source of a legal battle. Such is the case today in a dispute between Qualcomm and Apple.
For many California businesses, the need to protect a suite of intellectual property is an everyday reality. While most people think about things like patents, copyrights and trademarks or service marks when they consider what might be intellectual property, there is actually another type of IP to consider: trade secrets.
As a business owner in California, you might be asking yourself whether or not you actually need a logo. After all, you may not be aspiring to internationally recognized brand levels, or you might feel like your business doesn't really need one. But some would say that a logo is actually of crucial importance no matter what sort of work you do.
If you are one of the many entrepreneurial and creative people in California, you may at some point find it important to protect some of your important work. There are many different types of protections for what may be classified as intellectual property. For marks or designs that identify a particular company or its products or its services, you may want to seek trademarks or service marks.
Because California is such a hotbed of innovation and product development, there can be a high level of competitiveness among different companies. It is important for anyone who works in the technology sector to understand some basics about what may be involved with allegations of violating trade secrets, leaking intellectual property or other such offenses. Companies also should be well-versed in how to protect themselves against such actions.