As your Silicon Valley startup grows, it’s hard to know whom to trust. You’ve likely gone from a close-knit group of founders invested in the confidentiality of your trade secrets to hiring at-will employees who are less concerned with secrecy. Both federal and state laws reflect the value placed on corporate trade secrets and confidential information. Especially in technology-driven industries where startups are valued for their unique innovations, protecting your trade secrets is a key to success.
Defining Trade Secrets & Confidential Information
While you can contractually bind your employees to keep certain confidences, only qualifying trade secrets are protected by state and federal law. Trade secrets are defined as information that derives economic value by not being generally known or readily ascertainable by competitors and are subject to reasonable efforts to maintain confidence. Trade secrets can consist of: