Most employers are focused on finding the right candidates with the right skills that fit into the company vision and culture. Once that critical individual is found, employers now switch their focus on how to keep stellar staff in a job market that is willing to pay more for the best. However, increasingly, employers can find themselves competing with their former employees. Those highly skilled individuals not only have access to important intellectual property and trade secrets that can be valuable to competitors; they also have the skills and talent to improve, enhance and develop those important tools. You may find that it was your skilled talent pool that actually created the intellectual property or improved on the trade secrets that your company finds highly valuable and critical to success.
Generally, intellectual property for your company can be properly protected if your IP is protected. You have the option to sue former employees, their new employers or the companies they start should they try to trade on your company’s intellectual property. If you also utilize, non-competes in your employment agreements, then there could be additional legal action you could take against a former employee who is trying to leverage your company’s data or trade secrets.
Some of the enforceable bounds of a non-compete can include prohibiting the use of a company intellectual property, for a reasonable amount of time and also containing a reasonable geographic restriction. You non-compete clause must also avoid total bans on working within a trade or industry.
You may want to avoid costly lawsuits against former employees that violate a non-compete. By working with your legal counsel, you could settle the case with a former employee’s new employer. Your legal counsel will be able to advise you on the best options for your specific situation and infringement rights. Always, utilize legal expertise when navigating your rights as a business owner and the rights of your employees.