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Top 5 Things to Know About Protecting Intellectual Property When Employees Leave Your Company

July 18, 2018

You recently hired a new senior software developer. You spent significant time and money recruiting, training and integrating her into your small, growing business. But, the effort was worthwhile. She is quickly beginning to innovate and streamline the work you do, adding tremendous value to the company. It was an excellent hire.

This success, however, comes with risk. Other employers — if they haven’t already — will surely catch wind of this brilliant developer. You wonder: How can you prevent competitors from poaching your best talent? And even if your employee signed a noncompete agreement, is it enforceable?

More troubling yet, your employee has learned the trade secrets, proprietary information and other intellectual property that give your company its value. What is to stop her from taking this information to a competitor, or worse, opening up a shop next door?

Answering these questions is more important than ever, particularly as Greater Des Moines’ (DSM’s) economy revs on all cylinders, prompting job-hopping among employees and intensifying the competition among employers to attract and retain high-skilled workers.

Top Five Ways to Protect Intellectual Property

Kelsey Crosse and Matthew Warner-Blankenship, of Davis Brown Law Firm in DSM, explain the top five things your company needs to know to protect your company and its intellectual property. In the video, Kelsey and Matt discuss how employers, especially small firms and startups, can protect their intellectual property through non-disclosure agreements, non-compete clauses and security best practices. Warner-Blankenship is a registered patent attorney and a shareholder at Davis Brown whose practice focuses on intellectual property. He provides advice and counsel to a diverse group of clients ranging from startups and entrepreneurs to large universities and corporate entities. He has written and given seminars about non-disclosure agreements, non-compete clauses and protecting intellectual property. Previously, he served as president of the Iowa Intellectual Property Law Association.

I focus on employment law and litigation and have represented employers of all sizes, from startups to Fortune 500 companies,” says Kelsey. “I counsel clients on how to navigate state and federal regulatory schemes while minimizing liability exposure prior to and during litigation.”

Discover more legal resources, as well as Staffing and Hiring information for your small business in The Partnership’s Small Business Resources Hub or sign up for the Small Business Resources newsletter and stay connected for information about upcoming events, other resources and the latest announcements in the small business community in DSM.