What are “trade secrets”?

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Trade secrets are confidential information that gives a business a competitive advantage in the marketplace. They can include things like customer lists, manufacturing processes, formulas, algorithms, or any other confidential information that is not generally known to the public and that provides a competitive advantage to a business.

If you plan to start a competing business in North Carolina and you know your employer’s trade secrets, there are several things you should be worried about. First and foremost, you may be violating your non-disclosure or non-compete agreement with your current employer. If this is the case, your employer may have legal remedies available, such as filing a lawsuit to stop you from using their trade secrets or seeking monetary damages.

In addition to legal consequences, using your employer’s trade secrets can damage your professional reputation and harm your chances of success in the marketplace. It can also lead to negative publicity and may hurt your relationship with potential business partners and investors.

To protect yourself, it’s important to consult with a qualified attorney who can advise you on your legal obligations and help you develop a plan for starting your new business without violating any legal or ethical boundaries. This may involve taking steps to safeguard your employer’s trade secrets, such as returning confidential documents, deleting electronic files, and refraining from using any confidential information in your new business.

Will Blackton is a business lawyer based in Raleigh, North Carolina. You can reach Will at wblackton@bobllaw.com or (919) 636-5979.

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