Our Skilled Business Lawyers Offer Years of Experience Handling Trade Secrets and Unfair Competition in Florida and Pennsylvania
Your company’s trade secrets can represent some of the most valuable business assets you own, so it’s vital that you take measures to protect those trade secrets. But that’s a task that’s much easier said than done, especially if you work in a competitive industry, particularly one with a relatively small pool of qualified employees.
After all, what’s to prevent a disgruntled employee from going to work for the competition, where he or she discloses your trade secrets, such as secret formulas, computer algorithms, or even client lists? Well, this is one area where key business contracts, such as non-disclosure agreements and non-compete agreements or restrictive covenants can be extremely useful.
But in addition to writing specific, non-ambiguous and comprehensive contracts, you need an experienced trade secrets and unfair competition lawyer to help you take measures to protect your company and your business interests. This includes taking prompt, decisive action, such as litigation in cases where your trade secrets are threatened.
When you turn to Sandman & Lankford, PLLC, you’ll work with two top Daytona Beach-based business attorneys, Lori J. Sandman and Melody Lankford. Our goal is to help you protect your business, your trade secrets and proprietary information, while working to address instances of unfair competition, contract breaches and other situations that pose a threat to your venture.
The experienced Florida and Pennsylvania business lawyers of Sandman & Lankford, PLLC, can also assist with additional business needs, like copyrighting and patenting, business contracts, licensing and negotiations, mediation, arbitration, and litigation. Contact our law offices today to discuss your case in a confidential consultation session.
Call Sandman & Lankford, PLLC at 386-206-2898.
Common Questions Surrounding Trade Secrets and Unfair Competition
It’s normal to have questions concerning what constitutes a trade secret and what qualifies as unfair competition. Many business owners are also uncertain about what protections they’re afforded under the law and what measures they need to take independently by crafting customized agreements or contracts. So, let’s take a look at a few of the most common questions concerning trade secrets.
What’s the Definition of a Trade Secret?
The term “trade secret” can apply to a broad range of confidential information. In its most general sense, a trade secret is any piece of information that provides a business or individual with some sort of competitive advantage.
Trade secrets come in many forms, including:
- a recipe, formula or compilation;
- a proprietary technique or manufacturing method;
- a piece of software, computer code or algorithm;
- a design or pattern;
- sales techniques/methods;
- distribution methods;
- client lists;
- supplier/wholesaler lists; or
- a business or marketing strategy.
Notably, some of these trade secrets can be patented, such as a recipe or formula, or a proprietary manufacturing technique/method. So, those items are typically afforded protection under patent law. Some other information may be protected under copyright laws (such as a document detailing a marketing method.)
But other trade secrets do not qualify for protection with a patent or copyright law, so it’s these items that are typically considered a trade secret that is covered under other business and intellectual property laws (also called IP laws).
What’s Not Considered a Trade Secret?
There is some information that is not considered a trade secret. Generally, if the information is readily available to the public (and by extension, competitors), then this cannot be claimed as a trade secret.
For instance, you would typically be unable to claim your client list as a trade secret if you publicly post information about your clientele online or via social media. So, for instance, if a website design company were to post screenshots and links to each and every website they’ve designed, then they would generally be unable to claim this client list as a trade secret because that information has been released into the public domain.
What’s Considered Unfair Competition?
Unfair competition laws cover a number of different elements. Examples of unfair competition practices include:
- patent infringement;
- copyright or trademark infringement;
- misappropriation of trade secrets;
- using fraud, deception or misrepresentation to acquire another company’s information; and
- trade libel, such as writing false information about a competitor.
Another practice that is prohibited under unfair competition laws is known as tortious interference, which occurs when a one party convinces a person who has some sort of relationship with a competitor (such as a client, employee or even a business partner) to breach their contract or their duty to the competitor.
In short, unfair competition laws are designed to protect businesses from unfair business practices. Some antitrust laws also deal with matters of unfair competition.
How Can a Trade Secrets and Unfair Competition Lawyer Help My Business?
The laws governing unfair competition and trade secrets can be quite complex, and as a business owner, it can be quite challenging to interpret these laws in a way that’s meaningful and applicable to your precise situation or circumstances.
The unfair competition and trade secrets lawyers with the law firm of Sandman & Lankford, PLLC work with business owners in Daytona Beach, FL, Berks County, PA and the surrounding regions, offering key legal advice and recommendations that will allow you to protect your business and its trade secrets, while simultaneously avoiding accusations of unfair competition.
Our IP and Business Lawyers Will Help Protect Your Company and its Trade Secrets
There are many grey areas in the world of business law and intellectual property law, so it’s important to have an experienced attorney who can offer sound legal advice that will help you to ensure that your company remains profitable and productive.
Our law practice was established by Attorneys Lori J. Sandman and Melody Lankford, two very experienced attorneys with many years of experience dealing with everything from patenting, copyrighting and trade secrets, to business negotiations and contract matters, to addressing allegations of unfair competitions. Whether you need help drafting business contracts, require a top business negotiation team or need a hand with issues related to licensing, arbitration or litigation, our business attorneys can help.
To discuss your business law needs in a confidential consultation session, contact the Central Florida-based law offices of Sandman & Lankford, PLLC by calling 386-206-2898.