Failures are valuable IP Protect your startups negative trade secrets

News Summary

  • Companies and employees should bear in mind some general best practices when protecting and navigating around negative trade secrets.Courts sometimes scrutinize the breadth of alleged negative trade secrets to determine if they prevent others from competing in a particular field altogether.
  • The former assistant’s “negative know-how” from Edison’s 10,000 failed attempts would allow his new employer to start on attempt 10,001.But while a trade secret is a company’s intellectual property, an employee’s general knowledge, skill and experience acquired in his or her former employment is not.
  • Genentech included specific allegations that the defendants “downloaded and provided to JHL hundreds of confidential Genentech documents filled with proprietary negative know-how.”JHL argued that its protocols differed from Genentech’s, but the court said this did not foreclose JHL’s possible use of Genentech’s negative trade secrets.
Tech companies and startups are familiar with protecting their inventions with patents, and their secret formulas, source code and algorithms as trade secrets.But they may not be aware of another p [+3601 chars]