A company’s trade secrets may be their most valuable asset, whether the information is for a secret recipe or an algorithm. Thus, protecting this proprietary data is a top priority.
However, this does not mean that a violation regarding trade secrets must result in lengthy lawsuits or highly publicized disputes. In fact, avoiding these outcomes is a goal for countless businesses. And resolving the matter through mediation could be the answer.
How mediation helps businesses
If an employee or other party attempts to steal, sell or otherwise misuse protected information, businesses have options on how to respond. One way is to address the violation right away through mediation.
Mediation is a cooperative process that allows disputing parties to resolve a legal matter together. There are several benefits to this approach, including:
- Potentially faster results
- Confidential proceedings
- More agreeable solutions
- Preservation of a business’s reputation
- More creative outcomes
- Less expensive than litigation
These benefits can help businesses preserve their bottom line, their reputation and their proprietary information.
It is also worth noting that mediation can afford parties the opportunity to acknowledge the emotions of the situation without letting them take over.
But what if it doesn’t work?
Indeed, there are some conflicts that mediation cannot resolve, either because they are too complex or the parties are unwilling to cooperate. And in cases of serious misconduct or malice, the cooperative approach is unlikely to be effective.
If mediation is not a realistic option, parties can secure resolutions through arbitration, settlements and, yes, litigation.
Understand that the right avenue to resolve a trade secret violation depends on the people and information involved. But before you dismiss mediation as an option or assume it will not help you get the outcome you are hoping for, you can discuss your choices with legal counsel.
Trade secrets hold value because they are not widely known, and businesses must make reasonable efforts to keep them private. Thus, if a violation occurs, the last thing many people want to do is go through a public, high-profile, expensive lawsuit. Under these circumstances, mediation can be the answer.