Protecting trade secrets with nondisclosure agreements

As a North Carolina business owner, your business’s trade secrets, or the confidential information it has that gives it a competitive edge, may be among its most valuable assets. At Meynardie & Nanney, PLLC, we understand that anytime you make new hires and share these secrets, you run the risk of exposing them to the outside world, and we have helped many small business owners pursue solutions that protect their business’s intellectual property while keeping it from falling into the wrong hands. 

According to QuickBooks, many small business owners who are hoping to protect confidential information that helps their businesses succeed do so by making all new hires sign what is known as a nondisclosure agreement. In simple terms, a nondisclosure agreement is a signed, legally binding document that prevents your hires and employees from revealing confidential information about your entity. 

Often, the strongest nondisclosure agreements are those that are relatively brief and clear. Avoid using complicated language or otherwise making your agreement so complex that someone could potentially argue the validity or intent of it. While keeping it relatively brief, there are some key matters you may find it beneficial to address in yours. 

For example, make sure you are very specific in your nondisclosure agreement about exactly what information it protects. If, for example, you want any oral communications made by employees to fall under it, make sure to note this. Similarly, you may want to discuss what information the agreement does not explicitly cover. It may, too, serve you well in the long run to have a notary present when your employees sign the nondisclosure agreement to help prevent potential litigation down the line. Learn more about business litigation and related issues on our webpage.