You are the CIO of a renewable energy (photovoltaic solar) development company in America. Your company has been in the solar industry for the past 20 years, during which time the company has developed many solar energy products. Your company believes it can develop the next generation of solar panels that could be as much as 50% more efficient than the most efficient solar panels on the market. However, your company currently does not have the technical knowledge to create the product, so you find an expert with a PhD in Solar Energy to help your company create these new solar panels. Your company hires Jane and requires her to sign the following two documents:
- A Non-Disclosure Agreement (NDA), which prohibits the Jane from disclosing the technical details (or trade secrets) of these new and efficient solar panels to the public and/or to her future employers.
- A Non-Compete Agreement (NCA), which prohibits Jane from working within the solar energy industry for two years after leaving the company.
Thanks to Janeâ€™s technical knowledge, your company develops new solar panels that are significantly more efficient than the closest competitor. Jane was able to facilitate this development by making some improvements on existing, established science in the field. The new panels are successful and the company wants you to patent the panels. Simultaneously, a European solar company, that uses solar thermal technology instead of photovoltaic solar technology, hears of your expert and convinces her to leave your company and work for their solar thermal company. Upon finding out about Janeâ€™s departure, your company seeks to prohibit her from working with this European company.
Based on this scenario, include the following elements in a six- to nine-page paper:
- In your own words, explain what a patent is and what a trade secret is.
- Analyze the differences between a patent and a trade secret.
- Evaluate how your company would go about patenting the new solar panels.
- Analyze information held by your company that could be considered a trade secret and explain how the company can protect its trade secrets.
- From a legal perspective, analyze how fair and/or enforceable the non-compete agreement is.
- Determine whether or not your company could prohibit Jane from working with the European company, providing rationales for your decision.
The Trade Secrets and Patents paper
- Must be six pages 1900 words