The theft of intellectual property is a common occurrence in today’s  world.   It is receiving more and more attention as the U.S. economy continues to provide a large portion of the world’s intellectual property including computer software, mobile applications, music, and website content.  In fact, U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement has an Intellectual Property Theft Enforcement Team that monitors and fights current trends in intellectual property theft.  The FBI also runs an array of initiatives and operations, including the anti-piracy warning seal you see on movies, to fight intellectual property theft.  The take away here is that intellectual property theft is big business for thieves around the world.

Intellectual property is defined by the World Intellectual Property Organization as “creations of the mind: inventions, literary and artistic works, and symbols, names, images, and designs used in commerce.”  Some examples of copyrighted intellectual property include literary works, plays, films, music, artwork, computer software, video games, and mobile applications.  It is likely that your own business has intellectual property you are not aware of.  Business logos, names, color schemes, even a slogan, can be trademarked.  Does your business have trade secrets that give it a competitive edge in the market place?  Trade secrets are also intellectual property that must be protected by the business with good internal security and non-disclosure statements signed by employees.  This is why it is so important for a business to have non-compete and non-disclosure statements to proactively prevent the theft of that business’s intellectual property.

Think about it for a moment.  Does your business create confidential products or have confidential procedures that help give you an edge over your competitors?  In today’s competitive world, there is always a danger in having employees, contractors, and clients divulge your company’s intellectual property or trade secrets or use that information to unfairly compete against you.  A business attorney can draft a customized Non-Compete Agreement for your business that will prevent former employees or contractors from competing against you by working for a competitor or starting a business in the same business field.  A Non-Disclosure Agreement will prevent former employees, contractors, or even clients from divulging sensitive or confidential information about your business.

For additional reading see below:

Business Contracting

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