The Blog

Trade Secrets

Protecting the “Secret Sauce”

The law of trade secrets has broader application than to employee relations. But the problem often arises in the employment setting, usually when a departing employee feels they can take your “secret sauce,” steal your clients and start a competing business with impunity.

What Is a Trade Secret?

Trade secrets are a key employer right. If a business has “information, including a formula, pattern, compilation, program, device, method, technique, or process, that: (1) Derives independent economic value, actual or potential, from not being generally known to the public or to other persons who can obtain economic value from its disclosure or use” that “is the subject of efforts that are reasonable under the circumstances to maintain its secrecy,” then the employer entrepreneur has a legally protectable trade secret. If so, an employee has no right to take it from the employer entrepreneur and use it for any purpose whatsoever, not to mention for the purpose of competing against the former employer.

Invalid Covenant Not To Compete Meets Trade Secret Law

“Covenants not to compete” are void under California law (Business & Professions Code section 16600). In many other states such covenants are lawful, but not in sunny California. While California businesses cannot lawfully have their employees sign “covenants not to compete” (with certain very narrow and limited exceptions), they can certainly take legal action to protect their trade secrets.

At Vision Law, our employment law attorneys are entrepreneurs and business owners themselves. We vigorously vindicate our clients’ rights in trade secret and unfair competition actions.

At the same time, Vision Law® believes employers can save time, money, and unnecessary disruption to their business through effective, proactive efforts. That is why we have created our innovative fee programs for employers. We invite you to consider how cost-effective representation could save your company millions, or simply save your company.