Competition tends to bring out the worst in people, and this is never truer than in the cut-throat world of business. One of the most disruptive events that can happen to a company, at any time but most critically in the early stages of the business, is the charges of trade secret misappropriation in California. These charges can be difficult to defend against and expensive risking the ruin of a company before it’s had a chance to become established.
Fighting Trade Secret Charges
There are several steps that your clients can take to defend against charges of trade secret misappropriation in California:
- Thinking Ahead: If your clients are currently employed by a company and are planning to leave, possibly with co-workers, to form their own enterprise, defense against trade secret misappropriation charges begins immediately. Advise your clients to be scrupulous about never taking materials home from work. Emailed attachments are easily tracked and downloading information to thumb drives is equally detectible.
- Have new employee certify that they have not retained any documents inappropriately and that they have no legal encumbrances that might affect their employment. A check list prepared in advance might be an effective tool to accomplish this pre-employment interview. The more comprehensive this list is, the better-protected the business will be even if an employee is later found to have been deceptive.
- Prepare origination documents such as an Invention Assignment Agreement to be as broad and inclusive as possible in order to ‘lock out’ spurious interpretations that might allow a competing claim some room to breathe.
Advise your clients that these steps to safeguard their business from charges of trade secret misappropriation in California are simple and affordable, whereas fighting litigation against filed charges can be incredibly expensive, even ruinous to a business. A little forethought and planning will make all the difference.