Trade Secret Charge
Sidney L. Gold & Associates counsel employees on how to comply with and maintain trade secrets. An employee can be held liable to protect trade secrets even if they have not entered into a binding confidentiality or non-disclosure agreement. An employer who believes that a current or former employee has disclosed or unlawfully used company trade secrets can bring a lawsuit against them that carries tough penalties. The employee may have to pay the employer damages, or can have an injunction filed against them. This can severely impact the employee’s professional and personal reputation and limit their ability to secure future employment or pursue business ventures.
The judicial system must take into consideration several factors to determine if in fact the information in question is actually a protected trade secret. The court must decide if the information is known outside of the business, if it is known by employees of the business, what the company did to protect the information, and of what value the information is to the business or its competitors. The court will also consider how much money or effort was involved in developing the protected information or product, and whether or not the information could be accessed or copied by others.
Employers can also bring suit against an employee under the Computer Fraud and Abuse Act (CFAA), which can be a very complex charge to defend if the employee found the protected information by unauthorized use of the employer’s computers. On the other hand, if the employer is found guilty of using the CFAA as retaliation, the employee may be entitled to damages. Because of the serious penalties involved with trade secret disclosure, it is vital for an employee facing a trade secret charge to seek the counsel of an experienced and competent employment lawyer in Philadelphia.