Trade secret agreements may provide more protection than a non-compete agreement in San Diego and throughout California. What is a trade secret agreement and how can a trade secret exception help to accomplish the goals of San Diego employers? California courts are widely known as favoring the employee in non-compete litigation and will often only loosely enforce the terms contained within the non-compete agreement itself if at all. A landmark 2013 case all but obliterated the ability to enforce covenants not to compete or solicit customers or clients (Edwards v. Arthur Anderson LLP). The California Supreme Court has rejected the “narrow restraint” strategy which many attempted to use which would limit the time of a non-compete or perhaps the geographical limitations.
However, the California Supreme Court has declined to address the trade secret exception. Therefore, the Watkins Firm helps our clients to protect the inside information, customer and supplier lists, procedures and process which are “corporate property and trade secrets.” We carefully craft these contracts understanding trade secret agreements may provide more protection than any non-compete agreement. The trade secret agreement is lawful because it does not prevent the employee from engaging in his or her profession. Our agreements prohibit employees from using your corporate trade secrets including customer lists, contacts, suppliers and other information crucial to success in your business.
The general business counsel services of the Watkins Firm also help our clients to clearly identify and protect the information which is to established as trade secret. This information must be clearly marked or identified, protected separately from common information files and clearly addressed in all employee handbooks, hiring documents, employment contracts, policies and procedures of your company. Trade secret agreements may provide more protection than a covenant not to compete if they are limited and properly structured within the employment agreement or a separate trade secret agreement.
We invite you to learn more by contacting the Watkins Firm for a free consultation at 858-535-1511.