CONFIDENTIAL DOES NOT MEAN TRADE SECRET BUT…
8/10 (this is a rough estimate) employment agreements that we see, contain language regarding confidentiality. Companies don’t want employees taking their secrets to other companies or using those secrets for their own benefit.
10/10 employees however, are covered by Virginia Trade Secret Act which prohibits the use of secret information.
When Dan and I review an employment agreement and provide the employee advice as to its reasonableness, we also advise employees of their non-written obligations, like the Trade Secret Act.
So what is confidential information?
And what is Trade Secret information?
And why does it matter?
Each employment agreement will be examined on a case by case basis – so one employee may have different obligations than another.
Although all all Trade Secret information is likely confidential and covered under a confidentiality clause, not all confidential information will be covered by state or federal Trade Secret Act.
I know it sounds confusing, and it is.
Even if you do not have an employment agreement, you are not entitled to take and use for your own benefit, trade secrets.
If you have an agreement, know that you may also have an obligation not to share confidential information. Use of this information would lead to both breach of contract action, and possibly Trade Secret claim.