Texas businesses hold legal interests in complex combinations of intellectual property. Many tools can protect these business assets, and businesses can tailor these protections to their specific needs and assets. One popular form of protection is the non-compete agreement. Learn more about the operation of a non-compete agreement, and how it and other tools can be used to protect the assets of your business.
What Is a Non-Compete Agreement?
A non-compete agreement is a contract between an employer and its workers. Workers may include full-time employees, independent contractors, vendors, or anyone else with access to trade secrets or other confidential information that another company can use in competition with the employer. A non-compete agreement prevents the worker from undertaking specific actions that could harm the employer’s interests. Common examples include moonlighting for competitor businesses while working for the employer; working for a competitor after terminating employment with the employer, or using specified trade secrets or proprietary information to compete with the employers. The exact terms of the non-compete agreement are determined by the specific interests the employer wishes to protect.
Across the country, courts are increasingly showing disfavor toward non-compete agreements. When faced between the balance of an employer’s financial interest in trade secrets versus an employee’s right to freely change employers, many courts have sided with the employee. Nonetheless, a non-compete agreement can hold water if a lawyer carefully drafts it and a company narrowly enforces it. Employers, therefore, must seek the advice of a Texas business attorney before attempting to protect business interests through non-compete agreements. If a non-compete agreement is not the appropriate tool, business owners have other options to protect their intellectual property.
Other Options Available for the Protection of Intellectual Property
A trademark is a brand name that can include words, names, symbols, devices, or any combination thereof to identify and distinguish the goods of one seller from another. A service mark is used in the same manner to distinguish the services of one provider from another. Trademarks and service marks protect the image of a business by distinguishing its goods or services from others. Patents, on the other hand, protect inventions and a company’s financial interests in the inventions it develops. A copyright protects an original work of authorship (such as literary, dramatic, artistic, and musical works). The proper tool for protecting a company’s intellectual property will, therefore, depend upon what, specifically, you need to protect.
The Right Representation for Your Contract Disputes
Attorney Andrew Weisblatt has helped business owners resolve disputes quickly and effectively for 25 years. The Weisblatt Law Firm offers contract services including contract drafting, existing contract reviews, negotiating contract disputes, and if necessary, litigation. Call (713) 352-0847 or write to us to schedule your free phone consultation today. We will write and enforce your contracts to protect your legal interests.