Trade secrets are incredibly important. Your whole business may be built on one product or idea. The fact that you alone have the knowledge of how to create that product is what gives your company its strength. It gives you an edge. It sets you apart from other companies that are trying to enter the same space.
Employees are often asked to sign nondisclosure agreements when they're hired. In essence, the owners of the company understand that employees need access to certain sensitive information in order to be effective, but they also know that employees come and go. They don't want them to take valuable information that the company holds with them when they leave.
Trade secrets may very well be the most valuable thing that a company owns. They drive that company's success. They're more important than operational processes or individual employees. They matter more than investors or advertising. They also can define how well a company does and how long it lasts.
You may have heard that a man who won on Laugh Factory claimed they never paid him and decided to sue the company. It's getting even more complicated now, though, as Laugh Factory has turned around and sued the comedian, saying that he tried to run a scam to steal their trade secrets.
A Chinese national will serve 27 months in federal prison after he admitted to stealing trade secrets from two businesses in Irvine, California.
Most employees care about the company for which they work. As such, they would not typically let sensitive information leak to other parties. However, businesses in California do sometimes suffer the loss of private information, often due to the actions of employees. These losses leave business owners wondering just how their employees let valued trade secrets leave the safety of the business.
You've spent decades building a successful business. During this process, you've acquired numerous tricks of the trade, amassed extensive client and customer contact lists, invented new ways of doing things more efficiently and developed proprietary technologies that help you keep your customers happy. These are your "trade secrets," and you need to protect them if you want to stay competitive in your industry.
In the latest international news, it has been shown that the United States has charged Chinese companies in relation to the theft of trade secrets. The Nov. 5 report describes the United States formally charging both China and Taiwan along with three individuals were allegedly stealing trade secrets from a semiconductor company in the United States.
Here's an interesting story about a second scientist who has pleaded guilty to stealing trade secrets from GlaxoSmithKline. This was the second former scientist who had worked for the company to appear in court and plead guilty to stealing the company's secrets to help benefit a pharmaceutical company based in China that they had been a part in establishing.
When a person leaves your company, even if that person is you, the founder, there are rules in place that prevent trade secrets from being used to harm the company. Chief executive officers (CEOs) often believe that they're immune from these rules, but there is a possibility that you could be accused of stealing your own trade secrets if you're fired from your company.