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A former employee has stolen my trade secrets. What do I do?

On Behalf of | Sep 12, 2022 | Trade Secrets |

McDonald’s has a special sauce. Coca-Cola has a secret formula. And Google has a search algorithm. All these are proprietary information that gives these brands a competitive edge. And they are protected by the respective corporations’ trade secrets.

Basically, a trade secret is a kind of developmental or research process the company utilizes to gain an advantage over its competitors. It can be a product, design, recipe or any other piece of secret information that makes the company stand out. But what happens when an ex-employee steals this valuable asset?

Here are two steps you need to take to safeguard your interests when a former employee steals your trade secrets.

Review the non-disclosure agreement/policy

Most often, an employment contract will protect the organization from theft – and that includes theft of the organization’s trade secrets. A non-disclosure agreement, for instance, provides a more resolute means of holding employees (both current and past) accountable in the event of theft. If you operate in multiple states, you may need to learn about Texas law.

Put your evidence together

To qualify as a trade secret, the information in question must offer financial value. Additionally, the information must not be readily known to others. Proving how you limited access to your recipe or made effort to protect specific trade secrets will be critical to holding your former employee liable for theft.

You will also need to demonstrate that your ex-employee had direct access to material that qualified as a trade secret. Documenting how the ex-employee exploited your trade secret to their advantage can also be crucial.

When you have worked hard to build and register a trade secret, you need to make effort to protect your invention. Find out how you can protect your trade secrets from theft.