Ten Things: Trade Secrets and Protecting Your Company

How’s this for a nightmare scenario:  You get a call from the company’s Chief Operating Officer informing you that Ms. Smith is leaving the company to go to work for a competitor.  You’re told she has knowledge and copies of many confidential projects and strategies, including key marketing strategy presentations.   The COO wants to know what can be done to protect the company.  You tell him not to worry because Ms. Smith signed a confidentiality agreement when she joined the company and therefore everything will be fine.  A few days later you need to go back to the COO and tell him everything might not be fine regarding Ms. Smith and, in fact, according to outside counsel, the company has likely failed to do a number of things necessary to protect some of its trade secrets, meaning there may be little that can be done to stop Ms. Smith from divulging those items to her new employer – your competitor.