Posted by on Dec 2, 2016 in Business Laws | 0 comments

A company’s reputation will surely suffer if its trade practices are found to be deceptive or misleading, unless such deception is the work (and proven to be the work) of another, such as a competitor. Trade secret, which can be a simple formula, program, device, method, technique, process, practice or any critical information that can be the source of economic gain to someone who discloses or uses it, is what makes one company more successful than its competitors. Thus, to protect a company’s competitive edge or trade secret, it has been considered as one the categories that need to be put under the protection of the Intellectual Property Law.

Obtaining trade secrets through illegal means is a violation of federal and state laws. The state, generally speaking, is the one primarily tasked to enforce trade secrets laws, however, a law passed in 1996, the Economic Espionage Act (EEA), gives the federal government the authority to take charge over certain cases. This same Act also gives the U.S. Attorney General the power to prosecute anyone (individuals or companies), who/which will be proven as involved, in whatever way, in the misappropriation of trade secrets. The Attorney General has, likewise, been given the authority to impose severe punishment on whoever will be found guilty of deliberate stealing, copying or receiving of trade secrets. And, if a foreign government or business firm will benefit from a trade secret misappropriation, then the punishments to be imposed on those found guilty and caught will be doubled.

Besides trade secrets, another category placed under the protection of the Intellectual Property Law is trademark. A trademark, also called brand name or service mark can refer to a slogan, logo, mark or symbol that will directly identify the provider or source of goods or services.

A trademark, even by itself, can distinguish quality goods and services from substandard ones. Thus, some have just have the inclination to make their brand name, symbol, logo, as well as the colors of the symbol, as close as possible to the original, in an attempt to lure or mislead inattentive and unassuming customers.

In its website, the law firm Williams Kherkher points out the importance of being competitive early on in the business, as well as the importance of protecting and defending business rights and interests against anyone out to ruin a company’s good name. Trade secrets and other intellectual property rights represent one of the cornerstones upon which the U.S. economy has been built. If a company’s rights have been infringed upon or misappropriated in any way by a competitor, it will certainly be in the best interests of the owner for the dispute to be resolved in the courts. Even if the other party offers to settle out of court, consulting with an attorney before making any decision will be more advantageous and may even be necessary.

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