BYOD Policies and Business’s Proprietary Information

Trends predict that by 2017, half of all employers are expected to require their employees to supply their own devices for work.  While a well-implemented and maintained bring-your-own-device (BYOD) workplace has its benefits (such as driving innovation, reducing, or completely eliminating, the expense of constantly replacing outdated devices, and potential wage and hours claims for ‘overtime’ hours worked), there are definite security and legal risks that every Orange County business should explore.

As we head into a BYOD era, security should be a primary concern for employers.  Many companies invest heavily in the development of their trade secrets and other intellectual property and rely on their IP portfolio to give them a competitive advantage over other businesses.  In general, California law affords protection to those trade secrets (learn more here), but certain steps must be taken in order to obtain a legal shield. For example, your company must demonstrate that the trade secret is in fact “secret.”  An Orange County intellectual property lawyer can help walk you through this process.

Exceptions for Non-Compete Clauses in California

When an employee leaves a company, the employer often wants to try to ensure that the employee does not offer his or her services to competing or similar businesses. The most common (preemptive) step an employer will try to take is to include a non-compete clause in an employee’s contract, or attempt to have an employee to sign such an agreement in exchange for a severance package. However, some states have attempted to limit the reach or effectiveness of non-complete causes as a matter of public policy.

While many states will allow reasonable non-compete clauses in employment contracts, California expressly forbids them, save for a few limited circumstances. California Business and Professions Code section 16600 states in part that, “[E]very contract by which anyone is restrained from engaging in a lawful profession, trade, or business of any kind is to that extent void.”

Non-Competes in California

Generally speaking, employee non-compete agreements are unenforceable in California. But there are several exceptions to this rule; including the seller of a business’s goodwill or a membership interest in an LLC, and where the non-compete is necessary to protect an employer’s trade secret information. In our digital age, it is all too important for a…