When executives, managers or employees leave your business for new positions, they take with them some of the expertise they gained at your company. However, there are actions your business can take to safeguard your company’s most valuable ideas and processes.
Understanding trade secret laws can help you protect crucial intellectual property from competitors.
Businesses and trade secrets
A trade secret is a type of intellectual property that is profitable for a business as long as it remains confidential. Trade secrets include a wide range of knowledge, from software algorithms and research methods to customer lists and cake recipes.
Unlike a patent or a copyright, your company does not need to register its trade secrets. However, your business should take measures to control access. For example, you should limit the number of people who know protected information. Filing or encrypting your documents can be beneficial, too. Finally, you can require those who know trade secrets to sign nondisclosure agreements.
Trade secret laws in Texas
The Texas Uniform Trade Secrets Act describes actions that count as misappropriation of trade secrets. First, your competitors cannot use bribery, fraud or theft to obtain trade secrets. Additionally, it is not permissible for former employees of your company to break the nondisclosure agreements they signed.
If another business has misappropriated your company’s trade secrets, you could receive compensatory damages and injunctive relief. Stealing trade secrets can also be a crime, and offenders could face severe fines and incarceration as punishment for their actions.
Taking steps to proactively identify and conceal your business’s trade secrets can enable you to defend your intellectual property.