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How to Protect Trade Secrets When Employing a Mobile Workforce and Telecommuters

Author: Louis R. Lessig, Brown & Connery, LLP

In today's changing workforce, employers are no longer confined to the walls of their bricks and mortar facilities. Now employees are more mobile and no longer tied to a desk. And, even when they do work at a desk, it may be in their home as opposed to at the employer's facility. While there are clear advantages for employers to the mobility of business, it is also fraught with challenges that need to be addressed. Ideally, these issues should be addressed before:

  • A single sale is made;
  • Additional employees are hired; or
  • A new product is launched.

In every business there are patents, unique processes, client information and a multitude of things that came together which allowed the business to grow and thrive. Often some of this intellectual capital is the quintessential reason for an employer's success. Because this information is so valuable to the bottom line, an employer should take steps to protect the information in order to ensure the survival of the business.

However, with mobility comes the need for employees to have remote access to at least some of this information. Yet, if it is not protected, the same information that built the business may be its downfall if allowed to be used by others in the marketplace.

The below step-by-step guidance provides an employer with clear directives on how to safeguard its trade secrets in light of an increasingly mobile workforce.