Can You Stop Someone from Revealing Your Company’s Trade Secrets?
Irvine trade secrets attorneys provide assistance with protecting your company’s trade secrets. Your intellectual property, including secret formulas or processes, may be some of the most valuable assets your company owns. You must be proactive in keeping proprietary information a secret and should do everything possible to prevent information from falling into the wrong hands so you can maintain your competitive advantage. Brown & Charbonneau, LLP can help.
There are a number of different options for taking action to protect your trade secrets. Typically, if your information is at risk of being revealed, you want to act as quickly and decisively as possible before the information becomes public.
Our legal team will explain your options and assist you in taking the necessary actions to protect your valuable intellectual property. Give us a call to find out more.
How to Stop Someone from Revealing Trade Secrets
To protect your trade secrets, you should be proactive in taking action when there is a risk that the secret information will be revealed. This starts with the use of nondisclosure agreements. Before you reveal any proprietary information to anyone, whether an employee or a potential investor, you should ensure that an enforceable non-disclosure agreement is signed.
Non-disclosure agreements, or NDAs, must be reasonable in the scope of restrictions the agreements impose and must not be contrary to public policy. While California’s Business and Professions Code has virtually prohibited non-compete agreements in almost all situations in California Business and Professions Code, appropriate non-disclosure agreements are typically permitted as long as they meet certain guidelines such as protecting well-defined information that needs protection.
Whether you have a non-disclosure agreement in place or not, you should also be proactive in taking steps as soon as you suspect that someone is about to reveal your trade secrets. You can send a cease and desist letter, which puts the person on notice that you want the behavior to stop and that you will pursue legal action if it does not. You can and should also document the actions that are being taken which have caused you to become concerned that your secrets are in danger of being revealed.
If the threat to your company’s secrets continues, you can seek a preliminary injunction or temporary restraining order. If granted, the court would prohibit the person who is about to reveal your secrets from making the disclosure. In order to be granted a preliminary injunction, you must prove certain specific things such as a reasonable likelihood that you will prevail on the merits of your case.
You also must show that you would suffer irreparable harm if the secrets were revealed, and that the harm you would suffer is greater than any harm to the employee that comes from the court issuing an injunction. Finally, the court will consider whether granting a preliminary injunction is in the public interest or not.
A preliminary injunction or a temporary restraining order will stop your information from being revealed while a full case is pending. Because these court orders to refrain from sharing secrets are temporary, you will need to either negotiate an agreement not to have your secrets revealed or will need to pursue further legal action.
If you move forward with a claim, the remedy if you prevail could be an injunction by the court permanently barring the person who would reveal your secrets from making the disclosure of confidential information. This should ideally provide long-term protection of your confidential information.
Unfortunately, in some circumstances, it will be impossible to take advanced action to prevent the disclosure of trade secrets. This could occur, for example, if a disgruntled employee reveals trade secrets without warning. If your right to keep your trade secrets confidential is violated and your secrets become public knowledge, you can pursue a civil claim against the person who revealed your proprietary information with the goal of obtaining monetary compensation for the damages endured by your company as a result of the fact your trade secrets were revealed.
Getting Help from Irvine Trade Secrets Attorneys
Irvine trade secrets attorneys at Brown & Charbonneau, LLP can provide assistance in determining if information that you wish to keep confidential can actually be protected under trade secrets laws. We can also help you to both take pre-litigation steps and to go to court if necessary to protect your secrets or obtain damages due to the secrets being revealed. To find out more about the ways in which our legal team can help you, give us a call at (866)237-8129 or contact us online today.