Companies in California and throughout the country have multiple methods of protecting their intellectual property. One way of protecting a recipe, manufacturing process or other confidential information is by labeling it a trade secret. In some cases, intellectual property might be eligible for protection as a trade secret even if it can’t be registered.
How to keep confidential information from being leaked
It may be possible to keep sensitive information from being leaked to the public by having investors and employees sign confidentiality agreements. Doing so can help to clarify what employees and others who are affiliated with your business can reveal to the public. If the terms of the agreement are violated, you have the right to pursue legal action against the person who breached those terms.
Should you seek a patent?
One of the primary advantages to a trade secret is that it can remain in effect indefinitely whereas a patent will eventually expire. Furthermore, there is no need to register a trade secret or take other specific actions to ensure that confidential information isn’t leaked to the public. However, it is typically easier to enforce a patent than a trade secret.
There is also a chance that another person will figure out how your product is made or manufactured through legitimate means. For example, it may be possible to figure out how a product is made simply by looking at it. In such a scenario, that person may be entitled to patent any discoveries that he or she makes. It is important to note that you are not required to pursue a patent even if your intellectual property qualifies for one.
A business law attorney might be able to represent your interests in a breach of contract or trade secret infringement case. If your claim is successful, you may be entitled to financial or other forms of relief from any party that violated intellectual property or unfair competition laws.