Protecting your business’ trade secrets in California

With California’s unemployment rate down significantly since this time just a few years ago, many employers have started taking new measures to land skilled workers. They’ve increased wages and adjusted their benefits packages and workspaces. We have also seen an uptick in cases where businesses are poaching their competitors’ executives and employees.

Even if you go the extra mile to keep your employees happy, you might not fend off all the poachers, in which case you might find yourself forced to defend your trade secrets against former employees.

Your options for intellectual property defense

Business laws in California differ from those in other states. For example, non-compete agreements that are valid in other states are likely invalid and utterly worthless in California. When you expand your business or launch a new branch office in California, you’ll want to work with an attorney who knows how to use the state’s laws to safeguard your business and brand.

Your options may include:

  • California non-compete agreements: California voids most non-compete agreements but may uphold some exceptions. You might use a non-compete to prevent current employers from working with your competitors while still in your employ. You might also use a non-compete agreement to prevent the seller of a business from competing with the buyer.
  • California Uniform Trade Secrets Act (UTCA): If you can show that your company works hard to protect its valuable information, you can protect that information under the UTCA. The UTCA applies to copied or transcribed data, as well as information like client lists and strategies that employees might remember and share with new employers.
  • Foreign non-compete agreements: You might try to uphold a non-compete agreement from an office in another state. California courts will usually void these contracts, but you may be able to file your suit in other state. This was the case in the recent dispute between JLT Insurance Service and NFP Property and Casualty Services.

Protect your competitive advantage

California’s intellectual property laws can be complicated, but they exist to safeguard your trade secrets. An experienced attorney can help you decide what steps will best shore up your defenses and your brand identity.

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Baker & Associates
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Los Angeles, CA 90067

Phone: 310-904-6724
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