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Protecting Your Trade Secrets in a COVID-19 World

April 16, 2020

By: Melody Lynch

Remote work. Shuttered offices. Courthouse closures. Social distancing. Business in a COVID-19 world has been turned upside down. In our current climate, it is more important than ever to protect your intellectual property and corporate assets.

Working remotely creates more opportunities for employees to gain access to the company’s trade secrets via their personal computers or electronic devices. This could lead to misappropriation of the company’s trade secrets in the future. So what should companies do now? 

Companies should remain vigilant to protect their trade secrets and should only disclose trade secrets to employees with a need to know such sensitive and proprietary information. Employees who are current employees now may be former employees in the future. If given sensitive information, it is important that the employer appropriately protect the information from improper disclosure or use.

There are a number of ways to protect trade secrets or other proprietary information. Some employers utilize employment agreements, non-disclosure agreements (NDAs), or other contracts to protect the assets of the company. Other employers rely on their employee handbooks, strict access restrictions, encryption, and other security measures to protect their intellectual property.

Three different types of misappropriation of trade secrets claims affect employers, including: (1) misappropriation by improper acquisition; (2) misappropriation by disclosure; and (3) misappropriation by use. Unlike the more stringent standards applied in the patent context, misappropriation by use in the trade secret context is broad and includes not only using the exact secret but using knowledge gained from the company to create a new product or method. Specifically, in the trade secret context, the employer must show that the employee, former employee, or third party substantially derived the design or product from the company’s trade secrets.

If you have questions about protecting your company’s trade secrets or believe your company has been subjected to misappropriation of its trade secrets, please contact Melody Lynch at 407-418-6447 or melody.lynch@lowndes-law.com to discuss your options. 

Be sure to visit our Coronavirus (COVID-19) Resource Center page to keep up to date on the latest news.


This article is informational only. You should consult an attorney before acting or failing to act. The law may change rapidly and no warranty is given. LOWNDES DISCLAIMS ALL IMPLIED WARRANTIES AND WITHOUT LIMITATION, ANY WARRANTY OF FITNESS FOR A PARTICULAR PURPOSE. ALL ARTICLES ARE PROVIDED AS IS AND WITH ALL FAULTS. Consult a Lowndes attorney if you wish to establish an attorney/client relationship.
Melody

Melody Lynch is a litigator and founding member of the firm’s Privacy, Cybersecurity and eDiscovery Group. She focuses her legal practice on complex business litigation, banking litigation, probate & trust litigation, guardianship, intellectual property litigation, labor & employment litigation, family law and step-parent adoption.


Melody  has worked on matters involving a wide variety of business disputes, employment contracts, non-competition agreements, non-disclosure agreements and trade secrets. Her estate litigation practice focuses on matters involving wills, trusts, or guardianships.

A frequent author and lecturer on the topics of employment law, eDiscovery, workplace privacy and technology, Melody assists clients in preparing document retention and destruction policies. She has litigated complex cases involving voluminous amounts of electronically stored information (ESI), designing review platforms and managing document preservation, collection, and production efforts through settlement or trial.

The court room isn’t the only stage on which Melody has appeared. Before pursuing her career in law, Melody attended college on a ballet scholarship and danced with a professional ballet company as an apprentice dancer. Lynch received her bachelor’s degree from Butler University, is a graduate of Stetson University College of Law and holds an M.B.A from Stetson University. She often calls on her educational background, augmented by experience, to counsel clients on complex business and employment matters. She has represented clients in the health care, environmental, hospitality, and banking industries, among others.

Additionally, Melody is heavily involved in the Central Florida community and has been awarded with the Presidential Leadership Award by the Orange County Bar Association. Additionally she was named "40 under 40" by the Orlando Business Journal. She holds positions on boards of several organizations, which are all included below. She is a Guardian ad Litem for the Legal Aid Society where she represents the interests of abused and neglected children. She is a pro bono attorney for Seniors First where she represents the interests of indigent elderly wards. 

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