Infringement of Trade Secrets, Copyright Trademarks, and Patents
It is too easy to think of commercial assets in terms of sheer dollar signs. Anyone can say, for example, that an item which costs $50,000 is then worth $50,000. However, the most valuable asset a company owns may be something which is less plainly visible, and certainly far less simple to put a clearly demarcated value on: intellectual property.
Why Defending Intellectual Property is Important
Intellectual property is the “secret ingredient” fueling many of the world’s most successful businesses. Consider Coca Cola, for example. While Coca Cola’s various factories and pieces of equipment are certainly valuable, they can always be rebuilt or repurchased in the event of a catastrophe. However, if the closely-guarded recipe for making Coca Cola were ever leaked, the company would be ruined.
When an employee leaves a company, starts a new business, or even takes a customer list or patent design with them, their original company can be financially devastated. When a competitor adopts a logo or a trademarked name or slogan, confusion is created in the marketplace, and the competitor can then divert clients and customers by riding on the coat-tails of the company which endeavored so diligently to create the intellectual property in the first place. If the aggrieved company wants to continue as a thriving business, it needs to be able to take firm and decisive action in order to right the wrongs committed by the infringing competitor.
The damage that can be wrought by the misappropriation or alleged misappropriation of intellectual property can also travel in the other direction, however. For example, small businesses are often attacked by larger competitors who have the monetary and human resources to aggressively assert unsubstantiated claims of infringement of patent rights, trademarks, copyrights, and trade secrets. In order to survive as a business, the fledgling company must be able to defend its business practices.
The trade secret infringement attorneys at Maselli Warren, PC have extensive experience representing businesses in lawsuits in which intellectual property rights are in dispute. We have been practicing business litigation, including infringement of trade secrets, copyright trademarks, and patents for over 25 years. Thanks to our expertise in matters of business litigation as a whole, and to our many decades of hands-on, courtroom experience, our ability to represent businesses where matters of intellectual property are concerned is unparalleled.
Non-Compete Agreements and Restrictive Covenants
When a company hires a new employee, there is always a slew of contracts and agreements which must be reviewed, signed, and filed. One type of contract that has particular importance to the protection of intellectual property is something called a non-compete agreement, sometimes referred to as a restrictive covenant. The purpose of a non-compete agreement is the prevention of exactly the sort of scenario described above, where an employee leaves company A, brings Company A’s resources with them to Company B, and causes Company A to lose the competitive edge they formerly held over Company B. Additionally, non-competes may also be used by business buyers and sellers to prohibit competition in the same area.
Non-compete agreements can cover a broad spectrum of types of intellectual property, including recipes, formulas, databases, equations, codes, sales leads, and any other type of “inside information” utilized by a business in order to maintain a position in that business’ given market. The main qualifiers that mark information as being a trade secret are that the information gives its possessor company a competitive edge; the information is supposed to remain confidential; and the information is of significant value to its possessor company.
If an employee or business violates the terms of their non-compete agreement, the aggrieved business may want to pursue litigation to recoup the losses it has suffered as a result. However, before a company can initiate a lawsuit, the enforceable validity of the original non-compete agreement must be evaluated. For example, if a non-compete agreement imposes unreasonable terms, it may not be considered enforceable. At Maselli Warren, we can help your business to create or revise enforceable non-compete agreements, and to litigate aggressively where your company has suffered as a result of trade secret infringement.
The survival of your entire commercial enterprise may depend on the attorney you choose to protect your business. Our attorneys have over 25 years of experience assisting companies in protecting and preserving their most important assets: their intellectual property. To arrange for a confidential consultation with one of our intellectual property attorneys, contact our law offices online, or call us today at (800) 891-2657.