A company's greatest asset is its trade secrets and intellectual property. This includes all processes and procedures used during its operations, as well as any ideas, technology or concepts that it extracts value from.
In the chaos of start-ups and strategizing paths to growth, many small and growing companies fail to establish safe-guards to protect these secrets - but the threat is there. Employees may leave the company, competitors may start to prowl. Information can be mobile.
It is critical that you have an established plan for protecting your secrets. This starts by partnering with a skilled business law attorney who understands your company and who can create strategies for securing it. This includes:
Non disclosure, non-competition and non-solicitation agreements - these need to be established with all employees, partners, vendors, joint-ventures and anyone who has visibility into the company. While you may trust those around you, these agreements are critical to making sure your IP does not end up in the competition's hands.
Patents and licensing agreements - If you are developing technology or ideas of any type, you need patents and licensing agreements in place to define if and how it can be used by other parties.
The ability to enforce - While litigation is never the ideal choice, a business owner should know that he or she has the legal representation needed to enforce the company's rights in court, if needed.
Strategy - You need to work with a skilled business law attorney to create a holistic strategy for protecting your intellectual property and trade secrets for the lifespan of the company. Handling critical information with a long-term view can produce a very different (and more effective) set of solutions than trying to create a stop-gap for a current threat.
Chenoweth Law Group works with companies throughout the northwest to develop the legal framework needed to protect their IP assets and competitive advantage.