Protecting what is special about your business is the key to long-term success. So let’s talk about confidential material:
What is a Trade Secret? Essentially, it is almost any information that you take steps to protect and has economic value (present or future) because it is not known by the public. This can be, for example: financial, business, economic or technical information; designs, plans, methods, techniques, programs or codes.
What’s new? There are both Federal and State laws regarding Trade Secrets. The Federal Law, Defend Trade Secrets Act (DTSA), was just enacted last year and changes the law significantly. Specific language is now required in agreements that protect Trade Secrets.
How can you protect your Trade Secrets? A well-written Non-Disclosure Agreement (NDA) that also contains an enforceable Non-Compete clause is usually the best way to go. This can be a stand along agreement or part of a larger contract or policy manual. It is critical that this agreement meets the requirements of the new law. If not, the company can lose out on significant protection and damages. Also, educate your employees on the importance of protecting trade secrets.
Who should sign an NDA? Partners, employees, independent contractors, and anyone else who might come in contact with your business’s confidential information. Once your Trade Secret is out, it’s not a secret anymore and no longer protectable!
Beware of forms and templates. Since the DTSA is fairly recent, it’s highly unlikely that any forms or templates you come across would comply with the new rules. As such, they could be full of loopholes that leave you unprotected. Likewise, if your documents were drafted before 2016, they should probably be updated.
Meehle & Jay and Suzanne have been our counsel for Echo Interaction Group since the inception of our company. Her guidance has gone above and beyond the typical small tech business attorney and she's become a trusted advisor to our firm. Her knowledge of small business legal needs and specifically in the technology and startup world have been crucial to the growth of our company.
Carlos Carbonell, CEO, Echo Interaction Group
I couldn't be happier with my decision to hire Meehle & Jay as our entertainment attorneys! When you deal with a lot of people, it's critical for a business to have all of their i's dotted and their t's crossed, and it's huge relief to know that Meehle & Jay is doing that for us.
Rob Henlon, Fierce Entertainment
I use Meehle & Jay to represent my Event Planning Business and they are nothing short of phenomenal. Not only do I get email reminders to make sure I am staying on top of my legal priorities, the professional advice they have offered me, in conjunction with their legal expertise, makes me feel confident that I can do business competitively while still having my assets and reputation protected. A class act all the way around.
Michelle Widmer, Founder & Director of Events, The Empress Table
Davey Jay handles all our company's copyrights. Excellent knowledge and response time, highly recommend this firm.
Rodney E. Luke, President, Luke Brothers Custom Homes
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