Business acquaintance blatantly is trying to steal what my business does

Was introduced to individual that was going to help our business by allowing us to serve out of his shop a couple days a week. We serve a unique product that can only be made if a machine is purchased. Long story short since we would be serving out of his establishment, he asked us for the machine name so he could see the voltage and make sure it would work. Today we were told he plans to steal our unique idea and make it his own. More to the story and have emails, screen shots, phone conversation, etc. of me stating that I am not okay with this.

Asked on September 18, 2018 under Business Law, Washington


SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 2 years ago | Contributor

Did you have him sign a confidentiality, non-disclosure, etc. agreement before disclosing the information to him--that is, some agreement in which he contractually agreed to not use any information for his own benefit (or give it to other persons)? If he did sign such an agreement, you can enforce it againt him the way you can enforce any contract--by suing him for its breach, and seekng either a court order that he stop violating it and/or monetary compensation.
However, if he did not sign such an agreemet before you gave him the information, he can do anything he likes with it: our capitalist system and legal system do NOT stop someone from "stealing" your idea and competing with you unless they violated some agreement to not do that. You disclose information to someone when there is no such contract at your risk.

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