In our modern, complex society, many businesses develop, maintain, and rely upon trade secrets to shield competitive advantages in their marketplaces.
A “Trade Secret” is information (including a formula, pattern, compilation, program, device, method, technique, or process) that
- derives independent economic value, actual or potential, from not being generally known to the public (or to other persons who can obtain economic value from its disclosure or use); and
- is the subject of efforts that are reasonable under those circumstances to maintain its secrecy.
To protect its secrets, businesses are required to adopt, and implement a number of policies and practices. They include the use of non- disclosure agreements, of confidentiality agreements, and of restricted access to the secret information.
One of the inherent risks of having a trade secret arises when an employee who had been entrusted with knowledge of the trade secret goes to work for a competitor. In such cases, the company which owns the trade secret should take all reasonable steps to protect its secrets.
Such steps include retrieving all copies of confidential information from the departing employee and reminding that former employee (and warning his or her new employer) not to use/misappropriate the company’s trade secret.
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