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My partner has stolen my trade secret. What next?

Jan 30, 2023 | Business Litigation

If you get it right, a business partnership can be the best decision for your entrepreneurship journey. A properly structured business partnership allows you to pull resources, skills and expertise together for a successful venture. But what happens if you learn that your business partner is dishonest?

Trade secrets are some of the most important resources for any business. Trade secrets set your business apart, which makes it natural to want to protect them to the best of your ability. As such, it can be devastating to learn that your partner has stolen your trade secrets. So how do you respond if this happens?

Understanding trade secrets

Basically, trade secrets refer to the confidential business information that you intend to keep secret. These can include:

  • Financial plans
  • The business development plans
  • Customer database
  • Sensitive marketing and supply chain information

Such information derives commercial value by the nature of their secrecy. It is for this reason that trade secrets are protected by Non-Disclosure Agreements (NDAs).

So how do you deal with a partner who is stealing trade secrets?

If a partner violates the NDA by stealing or mishandling trade secrets, you need to enforce your rights to protect your business. Here are some of the steps you can take following trade secret theft:

  • Seek court injunction to bar your partner from continued use or distribution of the trade secret in question
  • Seeking a court injunction to recover the stolen trade secret. This is particularly appropriate when they committed fraud
  • And if the matter ends up in court, you may seek damages or recover profits made by the other party following their action.

Not many things are as unsettling as discovering that your business partner is dishonest. If your partner steals your trade secret or violates the partnership agreement in anyway, do not sit back and do nothing about it.