Protection of Proprietary Information

Companies regularly require employees to sign restrictive covenants, which can include agreements that protect the proprietary information of the business. While such protection is critical, companies might overstep their authority under Florida law, and a contract may infringe on the rights of employees.

Gaskill Law Firm reviews contracts that protect proprietary information and advises both businesses and employees regarding the enforceability of a contract. We review contract terms and negotiate more favorable terms of contracts when necessary. Should a party breach the contract, we can represent clients in settlement negotiations or litigation.

Trade Secrets

If a business has proprietary information it uses in the generation of business and revenue, protecting the information as a trade secret is often a critical strategy. With trade secrets, there is no requirement for companies to publicly disclose the information or design, and there is no lengthy application process with a government agency. However, businesses must take certain actions to protect their trade secrets. Legal counsel can ensure that a business has fully protected proprietary information and can seek legal relief should someone improperly obtain or disclose the information.

Non-compete agreements

Florida law permits non-compete agreements so long as they are reasonable. Reasonableness applies to the duration of the restrictions, geographical area, and type of business restricted. Further, companies must be able to demonstrate that the agreement is reasonably necessary to protect a legitimate business interest. Any company that uses non-competes should have the contract drafted by an experienced attorney.

If an employee breaches a non-compete, the resulting litigation can be complex. We represent companies working to enforce non-competes, as well as employees alleging a non-compete is unenforceable.

Non-disclosure agreements

If a company must disclose confidential information to employees, contractors, potential investors, or others, it is common to have them sign a non-disclosure agreement (NDA). If a party breaches an NDA, the company might file litigation seeking equitable relief or damages. Parties on both sides of this lawsuit should have proper legal representation.

In order to enforce an NDA, it must meet legal requirements, including being reasonably necessary and clarifying the specific information to be kept confidential. If the agreement is overly broad or unnecessary, a court might not enforce its provisions.

Non-solicitation agreements

Similar to a non-compete, a non-solicitation agreement must meet several requirements to be enforceable in Florida to prevent unnecessary restraints on trade. If a former employee violated a non-solicitation agreement, a business must prove the agreement serves a valid commercial purpose, is not overly restrictive, and is unambiguous in its language. We draft non-solicitation agreements with all of these legal requirements in mind.

If litigation arises from a non-solicitation agreement, we can represent either the company seeking damages or the former employee trying to prove the unenforceability of the contract.

Contracts Regarding Proprietary Information

The above restrictive covenants can assist businesses in protecting information, resources, and a client base. The law, however, can make it difficult for companies to prove the enforceability of such agreements in court and obtain the legal relief they seek. A qualified attorney should draft these agreements to ensure they comply with Florida law.

On the other hand, employees should not have their rights infringed upon by overly broad or ambiguous agreements regarding proprietary information, and they need assistance should they face litigation.

The legal team at Gaskill Law Firm represents parties regarding restrictive covenants both before signing and during litigation.

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