One of the most important things than an up and coming business must have is innovation. This means that the business is continuously moving forward in finding ways to do things better, to create better products and to find better ways to meet customers’ needs. But to do this, the proprietary information used in developing those relationships must stay private. With that, each new employee (or partner) who begins working with the company must understand the rules about keeping company information private.
Moreover, there must be a clear understanding around what is deemed “work for hire” and what the company owns. To that end, every employee or principal must sign a proprietary information agreement. These agreements are essentially contracts that established details around who owns inventions and new products created during the course of employment, and explains what is considered confidential information. It also sets forth expectations around what must be done to keep trade secrets confidential and whether there will be legal consequences for the unauthorized access or transfer of such information.
While proprietary information agreements come under many names (i.e. Employee Intellectual Property Agreement, Confidentiality and Assignment Agreement), they should be reviewed by an experienced business law attorney who has knowledge of intellectual property. After all, it would be difficult for a company to move forward and innovate with former employees taking proprietary information and essentially selling it to the highest bidder (or new employer).
If you have questions about what a proprietary information agreement would entail, contact a lawyer.