Posts in Category: Business Tips

What do employers need to know about the new Trade Secrets Act of 2016?

Small business tips - SandGarden Law GroupThe new Trade Secrets Act of 2016 has new tools and remedies for protecting employers, and new notice requirements as well.

Previously in this series we’ve discussed the new Defend Trade Secrets Act of 2016 (DTSA); how it can help small business owners and entrepreneurs protect their Trade Secrets, and how it will affect every else doing business in California. (See our resources page to links to these posts.)

Today’s blog post will focus on what employers need to know about the DTSA and steps they should take to comply with new DTSA requirements.

Today’s employers, small businesses and startups included, understand that they are vulnerable to their employees and contractors.

Civil Seizure and the 2016 Trade Secrets Act

Small business tips - SandGarden Law GroupWhat civil seizure is and how the 2016 Trade Secrets Act affects it

In our last post we explained the basic tools used to protect Trade Secrets such as NDA’s Employee and Independent Contractor Agreements, and state civil law actions.

Today we will start exploring the new tools available under the 2016 Defend Trade Secrets Act (DTSA). Its important to remember that these new tools affect all businesses, not just those who think they have trade secrets to defend.

What are Trade Secrets?

Small business tips - SandGarden Law GroupTrade Secrets: yours and everybody else’s

As we discussed last week, trade secrets are a type of Intellectual Property protection.   The courts define “trade secret” very broadly.  It can mean any type of confidential or secret information that gives a business a competitive edge.  Some examples of trade secrets: survey methods used by professional pollsters; formula for a sports drinks; recipes; a new but unpatented invention; manufacturing techniques; marketing strategies; and computer code or algorithms.  Trade secrets can even mean a good prospect list or supply chain.  Trade secrets are any valuable business information that is not generally known.

Generally trade secrets are most important in four types of business interactions:

The new Defend Trade Secrets Act of 2016 and how it will affect you

Small business tips - SandGarden Law GroupUnderstanding how trade secrets (and the new Trade Secrets Act of 2016) affects every business, whether you think you have trade secrets or not.

Trade secrets are a type of Intellectual Property protection. Many small businesses assume that unless they are a high tech company or an inventor, the concept of “trade secrets” does not apply to them. However, the idea of a trade secret has always been defined very broadly. It can mean any type of confidential or secret information that gives a business a competitive edge. The most famous trade secret in the business world is the recipe for Coca Cola.

The California Definition of Exempt Employee

Small business tips - SandGarden Law GroupThe new CA minimum wage law changes the definition of “exempt employee”

Does your business employee salary workers who are exempt from overtime rules? Those workers are called exempt employees, and the definition of who is exempt is based on the minimum wage.

A worker must be making a yearly salary of at least twice the current minimum wage in order to qualify as an exempt employee. Because the minimum wage is changing, that will also affect the definition of which employees are exempt. This will be complicated and challenging for the next few years, because not only will the minimum wage change every year, but there will be a different minimum wage for smaller sized businesses (25 employees or fewer), than for larger businesses. So if you have any employees in the $40k to $50K range, you should make sure that they have not dropped below the exempt employee requirements. If your worker suddenly goes from exempt to non-exempt, you will have several new responsibilities and requirements to follow for the worker’s time and schedule.