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Nondisclosure Agreements as the Mean to Protect Trade Secrets

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Essay title: Nondisclosure Agreements as the Mean to Protect Trade Secrets


Student: Emin Gurbanov




1. Importance of Trade Secrets it today’s business world

2. Nondisclosure Agreement as effective tool to protect Trade Secrets

3. Elements and definition of Trade Secrets

4. Requirements for qualifications of secrets and Trade Secrets

5. Legislative definitions and protections of Trade Secrets

6. Limitations of Nondisclosure Agreement

7. Protection of Trade Secrets

As the world moves rapidly toward an international marketplace, the protection of trade secrets becomes a task of high importance for industrial nations. Industrial espionage and theft of trade secrets have been known to civilization since ancient times. For example, the technique of making a silk in ancient China was a seriously kept secret. The law of the country permitted death by torture as penalty for revealing the secret of silk-making to outsiders. Today, the penalty for theft of trade secrets, if the perpetrator gets caught, is usually solely financial, though sometimes it can eventually become a subject of criminal charges. The necessity to protect business, intellectual and other tangible and intangible property led to the creation of the Nondisclosure Agreement (NDA) terminology in today’s business lexicon. The FBI and American Society of Industrial Security estimate that U.S businesses lose at least $24 billion every year because of stolen trade secrets, mostly from sales by employees to competitors.

A nondisclosure agreement in most business environments is an inalienable element in the employee hiring process. Almost every business has some valuable confidential information that it wants to keep under wraps. It could be a sales plan, a list of customers, a manufacturing process or a formula for a soft drink. This confidential information is a form of property whose value would drop to zero if competitors obtain it. Trade secrets are the only kind of information that can be protected by an NDA. In order for an NDA to be effective it has to be tailored according to the legislative acts, otherwise an employee who breaches the contract could be freed of any charges, and continue to share trade secret to the satisfaction of the competitor.

The NDA is an important means to protect business’ confidential information. The party who is in violation of an NDA agreement could be sued for the wrongful act and require compensating the plaintiff financially for all the damages done. In addition, the court usually issues an order that prohibits further disclosure of secrets. The NDA is not only serving as a protective tool, but it also encapsulates other benefits:

• It conveys to the party receiving the information notice that all information is sought to be treated as confidential.

• It clearly highlights what information is treated as confidential in order to avoid any misunderstanding and disputes.

• It stipulates the way of resolving disputes either by court or arbitrage.

• The jurisdiction of the dispute - the disputes can be tied up to certain geographic region or state.

• Which laws will be predominant or applicable in resolving disputes;

• The time required for a lawsuit.

The NDA is not a cure to protect just any business information - the information must qualify as a trade secret. A trade secret is created in secrecy and kept secret through the life of the information, and only those that have access to it are bound to maintaining the confidentiality

Trade secrets typically include such elements as:

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