Many companies here in California and elsewhere rely on their intellectual property to keep their edge in their chosen markets. Even when they have patents, copyrights and trademarks, they ordinarily also have trade secrets. It is vital that these companies take steps to protect them from current and departing employees.
The popularity of teleworking is growing at an exponential rate right now. Lots of California residents are taking advantage of this option, but they may need access to sensitive information from their companies in order to work. This means that trade secrets could end up vulnerable without some protections. Taking cybersecurity measures could help provide much needed protections.
For businesses here in Sacramento and elsewhere to remain competitive in the market, it is often necessary to closely guard some, if not all, aspects of the business. Keeping certain information confidential helps ensure that no one else discovers it. Trade secrets may not come with the same protections as patents or copyrights, but they also do not require the information to be divulged. Even large companies with patents, such as the Hershey Co., may also have some trade secrets.
Often, a California company's intellectual property gives it the market edge needed in order to become a success. Protecting that property becomes a crucial task in order for a business to continue to thrive. The question is whether trade secrets or patents provide the better protection. In some cases, the combination of both could be the right way to go.
Keeping proprietary information within the company can present a challenge to Sacramento business owners. Every time an employee leaves, whether voluntarily or otherwise, steps need to be taken in order to make sure that no trade secrets leave with him or her. If an employer discovers that someone did leave the company with one or more trade secrets, it may be necessary to take steps to retrieve the information and protect it. Phillips 66 had to do just that when it turned in to the FBI a former employee who ultimately admitted to taking at least one trade secret upon his resignation.
As a California business owner, you likely have a trade secret or two to protect. We at Peterson Watts Law Group, LLP, are here to give you some ways that you can keep these secrets safe from would-be thieves.
The primary goal of your business or organization is to make your mark within your local industry in Sacramento. While such a phrase is typically used in a metaphorical context, it can often be manifest literally through your company's trademarks. While you likely understand that protections are available to different types of sensitive business material, you may not fully comprehend the distinct differences between them. For example, much confusion exists over what exactly is a trademark.
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.