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January 9, 2014

When a Signed Agreement Isn't Enough -- Protecting the Confidentiality of Confidential Information

Maintaining the confidentiality of trade secrets is crucial for business owners who hope to remain competitive and continue earning cash from their investments and novel ideas. Many business owners require that non-disclosure agreements be signed by any persons with whom they deal, in order to limit the proliferation of trade secrets. Recently, two federal courts decisions have made it even more imperative to ensure adherence to such non-disclosure agreements.

The U.S. Court of Federal Claims recently dismissed an inventor's claims against the United States for patent infringement and misappropriation of trade secrets. In Gal-Or v. United States, the federal court heard evidence regarding Mr. Gal-Or's dealings with the federal government. Gal-Or, an Israeli scientist and inventor, created a number of novel devices used by the military's aerospace programs. Gal-Or had an agreement with the federal government that whatever trade secrets of his were disclosed from the parties' dealing would be confidential. While Gal-Or had the agreement with the government, he did not mark all of the documents that he shared as confidential, nor did he always proactively insist on adherence with the non-disclosure agreement. The evidence demonstrating Gal-Or's incomplete protection of his intellectual property persuaded the court to grant the government's motion to dismiss.

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