Business Law Attorneys Assisting with Confidentiality Agreements for Businesses in the Tacoma, Washington Area
Fresh ideas are the lifeblood of many businesses. Unfortunately, great ideas are few and far between; that’s what helps make them great! There is often an unfortunate “push and pull” within the business world. One the one hand, business owners want to keep their business and trade secrets close to the vest. On the other hand, sharing those ideas with at least an important segment of the work force is usually required for the business to grow.
Particularly now, with the growth of technology and the relative ease with which ideas are transmitted around the world, smart business owners have turned to confidentiality agreements to protect their vital secrets. Unfortunately, too many businesses have been lured into thinking that the use of a simple form will suffice. In many instances, it is a recipe for disaster. Here are four important things to remember.
Point One: Carefully Describe What You Contend is “Confidential”
Many confidentiality agreements fail before they get a good start. How? They don’t adequately describe the sort of information or idea that must be kept secret. Too many agreements use ambiguous definitions and courts will not generally protect ambiguity. If you haven’t taken the time and effort to define what you mean, the court will generally refuse to do it for you.
Point Two: Include a Realistic Time Frame in the Agreement
Courts will not enforce agreements that they consider unreasonable. In picking a time frame for the protective period covered by your agreement, care must be given to stating a time frame that is reasonable under the circumstances. The quicker the pace of change in your business, the shorter the time frame must generally be to be considered reasonable.
Point Three: Specify the Jurisdiction to Handle Disputes
The only worse thing than ending up in court is to end up in a court whose law is hostile to your interests. A properly drafted confidentiality agreement will bear in mind what sort of legal forum is in the best interests of your business. Depending upon the circumstances, it may even choose an alternative to a court forum – arbitration or some other form of alternative dispute resolution may favor your business more than “airing out your laundry” in a public forum.
Point Four: Attorney’s Fees
One needs to be careful here. On the one hand, the agreement should protect the owner of the secrets from any unauthorized use that violates the agreement and an attorney’s fee provision can be an effective stick that makes a potential violator hesitate before breaching the agreement. When negotiating any nondisclosure or confidentiality agreement, it is wise to negotiate the attorney’s fee issue up front.
Key to Enforceable Agreement is Clarity
While forms for confidentiality agreements abound on the Internet, many businesses find out – too late – that a one-size-fits-all approach can be as dangerous as having no agreement at all. To protect your confidential information effectively, a business should put in place a well written, compelling agreement.
Blado Kiger Bolan, P.S. – Experienced, Skillful Business Attorneys
Are you concerned about trade secrets and other confidential information? Do you have secrets that are the core of your business? Blado Kiger Bolan, P.S. has more than 30 years of combined experience providing both individuals and businesses with quality legal services throughout the Pacific Northwest. We have helped craft and defend confidentiality agreements. We can also represent a person accused of breaching such an agreement. We pride ourselves on designing the simplest, most effective solution for your legal issue. If settlement is appropriate, we are skilled negotiators. We also have the experience and skill to take a dispute to trial and beyond. For assistance with a will, a trust, or any sort of estate planning issue, contact us on the web, or call our office at 253-272-2997.