Much more than just making and distributing goods and services goes into a successful business. From specific manufacturing processes to a recipe for a secret spice blend, there are many unique practices what help your business thrive. While you can’t patent a recipe or design, or register a product as a trademark, special practices and company information may be protected as trade secrets. The more competitive the field you’re in, the more likely other businesses have an explicit interest in your trade secrets. Whether you’ve reduced production costs allowing you to undercut competitors or have a quality to your final product others can’t replicate, it’s important to know these practices are protected.
Trade secret law in the United States protects any information not readily available or easily discerned about practices that give your company a competitive advantage. Companies with famous recipes or flavors may hide their exact recipe from public knowledge, considering it a trade secret. Production practices, methods, processes and practices are also theoretically protected under trade secrets laws. If your company offers something unique, whether it’s a chemical finishing process for plastics or a yogurt-flavoring practice, your practices may be protected under trade secrets laws.
What Is a Trade Secret?
There are several factors required for information being considered a trade secret. The first is that the information is not public knowledge. Secondly, trade secrets must give your business a competitive advantage. If it allows you to make something more quickly, flavorful, affordably or safely, then it could be a trade secret. If it makes your end product so unique that others can’t fully copy it, it may be a trade secret. Finally, you are expected to take steps to protect your trade secret from discovery and use by others. In many cases, trade secrets are some of the most valuable intellectual property.
After all, trade secrets, more than a trademarked logo or a copyrighted slogan, can help set your company and its offerings apart from the competition. The right trade secrets can make your brand and your products highly desirable and therefore, highly profitable. People seek out a brand because of its unique offerings. Better demand allows you to command a better price, both from consumers and from companies that carry your products or other offerings. Protecting your trade secrets is critical to maintaining that brand and ensuring the continued profitability of your business, whatever you do.
How Can Your Company Protect Trade Secrets in Miami?
Working with an experienced trade secrets law firm like Livingston & Loeffler can help your company protect its trade secrets. While corporate espionage and theft (whether physical or electronic via hacking) are risks to your trade secrets, internal losses could represent a more serious threat. Employees who have access to your trade secrets can sell them to competitors or even open a competing business utilizing your trade secrets for their profit.
Many companies take legal steps to prevent that kind of theft and competition, typically by having employees execute non-disclosure agreements and very specific non-compete agreements as part of their employment contract. If your company hasn’t already taken this step, speaking with the experienced trade secrets attorneys in Miami at Livingston & Loeffler is a great first step. Employment contracts and agreements must be carefully drafted to ensure they are legally enforceable. You want the assistance and advice of an attorney who thoroughly understands trade secrets law.
You Need Help Protecting Your Trade Secrets
Competitors may stop at nothing to obtain your trade secrets. If one of them engages in questionable practices, like espionage or theft, to acquire your trade secrets, they have legally misappropriated your trade secrets. That means your company can take legal action against another business attempting to profit off your trade secrets. You can file a civil lawsuit, which under new laws can include a request to seize any property allowing your competition to disseminate your trade secrets. Doing so can prevent an even further spread of information that is critical to the ongoing success of your company.
Trade secret laws have expanded in recent years, allowing for federal action in cases of serious misappropriation. If your trade secrets were misappropriated for financial gain or to share with an outside government, you can take private action in the form of a civil lawsuit and injunction. The attorney general can also bring a civil case against a company who violated trade secret laws. In order to make the most of this potential, however, you really need the advice and guidance of an attorney with experience in trade secrets law.