Trade secrets are the life blood of a business. They can be marketing plans, customer lists or product designs. Because they have value sometimes they are stolen often by an ex-employee or business associate. This theft can be seen as treachery, the business equivalent of a stab in the back. No matter how high emotions are running if a lawsuit has been filed or is being considered, the reality is the vast majority of cases settle.
Since that’s the case whether you’re a plaintiff or defendant in a trade secret theft case you should think about your interests, your goals and how they may be reached through a settlement. These cases can be very expensive in time, energy and money. If a settlement can be achieved fairly quickly with reasonable terms it may be your best option over a long litigation slog and rolling the dice at a trial.
What would be reasonable terms? They should be based on what could be attained without a settlement. Be realistic. Trying to hammer away at the other party to get terms that would be unlikely through litigation will probably be a waste of time and just antagonize the parties even more. On the other hand, setting your sights too low makes the process not worth it.
What do you need to settle? What would you like to settle? You must decide before starting negotiations.
Out of fear or anger you may seek litigation to try to get injunctive relief or a seizure of your trade secrets. But without enough facts an attempt at injunctive relief will probably fail. Another way to seek what you want is through negotiations.
You will have to contact the suspected bad actor, or their attorney, to see if there is interest in negotiation or mediation. This should be in writing, in a business-like fashion, without hostility which may end discussions before they start. You should include some details as to when and where and what information should be exchanged in advance.