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How can I protect my business and its confidential information?

On Behalf of | Oct 13, 2022 | Professional Liability

Businesses in Texas will have certain ways in which they create their products, provide their services and craft their ideas. It is imperative that there is a level of secrecy and protection to prevent competitors from using this information to their advantage.

A common concern for business owners is how to keep employees, contractors and others who might be privy to inside information about the inner workings of the company from using it for their own benefit. This is where confidentiality of information and various agreements enter the picture. Understanding how these can be helpful and knowing when to use them is vital to any business.

What should I know about confidentiality of information for my business?

As employees do their jobs, they are inevitably going to come across various pieces of information about the business. Companies may go to great lengths to protect the entire concept of their product or service, but even bits and pieces can be of value if an employee chooses to use it outside the scope of their duties. With potentially valuable information, confidentiality is key.

Technically, confidential information is anything that is not easily accessible to outsiders. Businesses will set their own policies regarding this information. Businesses can protect the information from anyone who has access to it. If the information is released in any way and it is not required under state or federal law, it violates confidentiality between the employee and employer. Employees can face sanctions for violating the policy.

Many companies will have a contract to ensure compliance. There can be clear guidelines for conflict of interest, trade secrets and non-competition agreements. Employees can be asked to sign a contract clearly detailing what the can and cannot do. If they violate it, they can face litigation and pay a financial price. The policy itself will also state what employees are obligated to do with a company’s information.

Non-compete agreements has direct requirements as to when it is enforceable. It must be connected to or a direct part of an enforceable agreement and it must have the limits as to when, where and what activities can be done. Since state entities view competition as a positive, the business must show that failing to enforce the agreement would damage it. It cannot place an unfair burden on the person who wants to, hypothetically, go out on their own in the same type of business.

Having professional protection and advice can help with running a business

Business owners and individuals who are accused of violating an agreement should be aware of how to proceed and settle the dispute through legal means. For example, if there was a business that created computer software and a former employee left and started their own computer software business, it is easy for the former employer to function under the impression that the erstwhile employee has used what they learned while working at the business to try and advance themselves. It might be true, but it might not be.

The case must be assessed in an evenhanded way with expertise and a grasp of what the products do to try and forge a positive result. That could stem from business litigation or it may come from a settlement. The same is true for any business, item or product like a restaurant concept, a construction company, an advisement entity, a consulting firm or any other business that is providing products or services.

There may be creative ways to settle the dispute. Understanding how to craft various agreements to protect the business and knowing what those agreements entail is essential. For these and other business-related issues, it is wise to have experienced help.