Trade Secret Protection by Small & Medium-Sized Enterprises
Not long ago we discussed #NDA’s (non-disclosure agreements) as a mechanism for protecting trade secrets (proprietary information that gives a company a competitive advantage). Now a federal court in Delaware ordered L’Oréal USA to pay Olaplex, a notoriously smaller cosmetics company in Santa Monica, $50M in damages for breach of contract and #patent infringement.
In May of 2015 Olaplex shared with L’Oréal trade secrets related to a process for strengthening and protecting hair hoping to exploit the technology with L’Oréal which instead, months later, launched a product using the technology #Olaplex had shared. At that time Olaplex had barely a year operating in the marketplace.
This is a clear, good example of how #SMEs can take diligent steps to protect their intellectual property. No matter the size of the company, technology can be transferred or licensed and having the correct contracts in place will ensure others do not steal it. Had Olaplex not put in place an NDA to protect their technology they would not have been able to prove ownership of the technology and access by the defendant. Trade secrets are IP, intangible corporate assets that have economic value and require protection.