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Tricks of the Trade, Part 2: Trade Secrets and Inevitable Disclosure in California

A few weeks ago, we posted an article geared towards entrepreneurs who are striking it out on their own with a new business venture.  We provided some tips on how to make sure you leave behind all files and documents that your former employer might classify as “trade secrets” to avoid misappropriation allegations, but closed the article by acknowledging the impossibility of leaving a workplace with a spotless mind.   Let’s discuss a few of these “intangible” types of trade secrets that might seem impossible to physically leave behind.

Tips for Entrepreneurs: Hiring Employees in California

Congratulations!  Your business is expanding, work is pouring in and you think it’s time to hire someone to help you handle it all.  When it’s time to hire your first employee, it’s important to do everything “by the book” instead of “under the table.”  Here’s a quick list of some of the important considerations and requirements for hiring employees:

California Law: Defining “Misappropriation” of a Trade Secret

How do we define misappropriation in business? In California, a claim made regarding misappropriation of trade secrets rests on proving two elements: 1) the existence of a true “trade secret” (discussed in our last blog post on this topic), and 2) that the trade secret was “misappropriated.”

Trade Secrets and California Law – Defining Trade Secrets

For many businesses, success depends upon keeping certain, key pieces of company information strictly in-house.   This information might be a certain technique or formula used to create a product, a client list, or a business plan- all of these could indeed represent “trade secrets.”  Yet there is no hard-and-fast list of types of information that are uniformly labeled as trade secrets.  Rather, the information must fit into the definition set forth in California Civil Code Section 3426-3426.11, known as the Uniform Trade Secrets Act, or UTSA.

Confidentiality Agreements: Protecting Business Owners in San Diego

While non-compete agreements are generally unenforceable in California, an employer can restrict an employee from utilizing, stealing, disclosing or compromising the employer’s trade secrets, data, client lists, patents, etc. Such confidential, proprietary information is owned by the employer and cannot be taken by the employee for use outside his or her employment with the employer.

Independent Contractor vs. Employee: Misclassification Can Create Mess for Employer and Employee

Independent contractor...employee..."getting 1099'ed"...self-employment tax...these terms and their implications, in a legal and a tax sense, are complicated.  At the outset of a company/independent contractor or employer/employee relationship, a clear relationship needs to be defined.  Unfortunately, many times the relationship is not made clear because neither party understands the difference between an "independent contractor" or an "employee."

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