Preventing Insider Competition Protecting Intellectual Properties
Most entrepreneurs and established businesses are extremely sensitive to business risks and lost opportunities resulting from the actions of their competitors. When dealing with known or suspected business rivals, it is natural go into “high alert” mode in an effort to secure confidential business information such as customer and supplier lists, marketing ideas, advertising plans and budgets, and customer buying habits. Unfortunately, few steps are taken to prevent the competitive use or disclosure of information by those considered to be trusted “insiders” such as partners, employees, vendors, and sub-contractors. All businesses must protect their intellectual properties.
One-third of all business failures are linked to losses resulting from theft by those in a trusted position. In addition to theft of physically tangible items such as cash, machinery, tools, and inventory, the fast-paced and competitive information age has seen a growing trend towards the theft of confidential information and business knowledge.
The success of many high-technology businesses is determined to a large extent on the ability to acquire, protect, and exploit new ideas. In a competitive business environment, it is surprising to find increasingly valuable ideas and proprietary knowledge being stockpiled in the minds of a mobile, independent, and relatively disloyal workforce. Protecting intellectual properties requires that protective measures be taken to ensure that this knowledge is not improperly used. Today’s disgruntled employees are more capable than ever before of forming split-off start-up companies and competing with their former employers. Furthermore, job mobility is at an all-time high with senior management and even principals moving regularly as a way to take advantage of new opportunities and to advance their careers. In this contextual setting, it certainly is not difficult for confidential information to reach an established competitor through a former employee, partner, vendor, or sub-contractor.
At Gold & Rizvi, P.A., we are The Idea Attorneys ® and regularly assist companies in protecting their valuable ideas and confidential information through a variety of intellectual property doctrines. From a practical standpoint, it is our experience that courts are much more likely to be persuaded to grant an injunction and monetary relief for theft of confidential information by an inside party where the parties have clearly spelled out their understanding in a written document. As such, we counsel clients in the development of non-disclosure, non-compete, technology transfer and development, license, franchise, and distribution agreements.
If you would like to speak to an attorney about your particular situation, please do not hesitate to call our office.
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