Protecting Your Business From Unscrupulous Competitors

Dunlap Law Insights

Capitalism allows individuals an opportunity to develop their own path toward financial freedom, often by following their passions or working in a field where they are particularly skilled. People can work jobs or sell goods or services they provide in order to accumulate capital and potentially start their own business.

Being your own boss is a big part of the American dream for many who don’t wish to work for others for their entire lives. However, there must be some protections in place in capitalist countries, as otherwise many people would find themselves locked out of growth and advancement by existing companies. Companies making money want to continue to do so. That can prompt them to behave in an ethical or unscrupulous manner.

For example, some businesses intentionally commit illegal acts of corporate espionage by breaking into a building and stealing information from a competitor. Other companies could poach staff from your company by offering higher salaries, provided that your workers bring some of your protected trade secrets with them. As a business owner, you need to take steps to protect your company from these unethical behaviors.

Protect your intellectual property

One of the most important things you can do is understand what trade secrets and other critical pieces of information have protection under federal intellectual property laws. From the implied copyright on images and text that you published to the actual trademark registration of your brand’s logo, there are many forms of protection that keep your investment in your business safer.

You should identify what secrets, processes, images, text and other original creations impact your company’s success and growth. These are the pieces of intellectual property that you want to protect. In some cases, you may want to file copyright paperwork with the federal government. Talking with an attorney about when this move is necessary can reduce the risk of a competitor stealing your ideas or information.

Draft binding employment contracts that protect your business

Whenever you hire a new employee or transfer an existing worker into a different position, you have the opportunity to have that person sign a contract related to their job with you. Including non-compete agreements that prevent your employee from working for direct competitors, or starting another business in your industry nearby after leaving your company, can remove the incentive for corporate espionage.

You may also want to have your workers fill out non-disclosure agreements, which leave them legally vulnerable if they ever share any information gleaned directly from your company. You can use similar contracts with clients, customers and suppliers, depending on who has access to important business information.

Business formats will have differing needs for protecting their concepts and intellectual property. Consulting with an attorney who understands corporate law is a good first step toward protecting your business in Rochester.