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Trouble brewing for two men accused of trade secret theft

When people think of trade secrets, they often imagine things like a secret recipe. But business owners across Fort Lauderdale should understand that trade secrets can refer to any information, strategy, formula or methodology that is secret and gives a company a competitive edge.

For instance, it was recently reported that a midwest brewing company filed a lawsuit against former employees accusing them of stealing and leaking trade secrets. The trade secrets involved were not secret recipes for beer, they were strategies and techniques.

According to reports, Summit Brewing claims that two former employees accessed, stole and then shared confidential information on the operations of the brewery. The lawsuit says one man took the information while he was still working there and gave it to the other man who was employed at a direct competitor.

Summit says that both men were made aware that the information in question was confidential and not to be shared with anyone outside the company, as it was documented in the employee handbook. Further, the man who left for a position at the competing brewery signed a confidentiality agreement prior to leaving his job at Summit.

The release of confidential information could be detrimental to a company, particularly when it ends up in the hands of a competitor. This is why it is crucial for business owners to protect things like client lists, marketing strategies, product specifications and other resources that are unique to a company and not available to the public.

If an employee or any other party steals this information or violates a confidentiality agreement, legal action can and should be taken against that party.

Any business owner with concerns about protecting trade secrets or enforcing confidentiality agreements would be wise to consult an experienced attorney as soon as possible. Mitigating the damage done by the release of confidential information -- or potential release -- could be the difference between the demise of a company and its continued success.


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