Are You Losing Intellectual Property Each Time A Staff Member Leaves?

A business owner needs to consider many aspects and ensure there is minimal intellectual property that leaves the business with the staff when they move to a competitor’s organization or leave to set up their own business (in the same field). Many SME’s underestimate the importance of time, effort and intellectual property.

Solutions by the Panel of Experts

Business owners have to consider various aspects to ensure that minimal intellectual property  leaves the business when a staff leaves to join a competitor’s organization or leaves to set up his/her own business in the same niche. Ironically, most SMEs underneath the importance of intellectual property, time, and efforts.

Let us look at the case study from three perspectives:

1. The s igni f i c anc e of intellectual property addressed by Dominique Engelter from a legal perspective

2. How an entrepreneur thinks when leaving an organization addressed by Daniel Jovevski ; Entrepreneur of the Year 2013

3. What one can do to retain entrepreneurs and staff addressed by Hament Chavda; a well renowned transformational coach.

According to Dominique Engelter , “ From a commercial litigation perspective and legalities, there can be a lot of problems.

You need to know what step to take first, quit first then find employment or find work before quitting. There are contracts where people cannot find a job while working with some firms.”

In the absence of any contractual terms, there is an employer duty on their employees that during their employment they will not solicit any existing customers of the business.

It is all about duty and loyalty.

When people leave, they take sensitive information and trade secrets, like a customer list.

“From a personal and business transformation perspective good people do not leave organizations. They leave because they are not feeling fulfilled, they are not growing, they are not part of a team, they are  not recognized.

People need to connect to the “Why.” Why are they coming to work, what are their missions and values? Says Hament Chavda.

“People lose heart in what they do and this can lead to other issues like commitment. People should be rigorous and not ruthless”

This is an interesting discussion as Mr. Chavda, goes on to giving an example  which is worth watching on the NifnexTV Channel on YouTube or Scan the QR code on the top right corner of the page.

According to Daniel Jovevski, “ F r om a n entrepreneur’s perspective starting a new SME is a challenge. Do you want to start a business and then leave the job, or leave the job and then leave? You need to do some research before taking a step. The Entrepreneur Drive sometimes over powers everything and this will embellish the points to dominate.”


More and more SMEs are using overseas freelancers and consultants that might only meet over phone and email. How can a SME control their IP in that situation?

Make the terms clear and be conscious of the value of what you are sending out to the third party consultants to know what they are doing with your property, and to know how to protect it.

Do our local laws apply in different countries?

Depends on what country you are dealing with. You may not always be able to take overseas action.

Should volunteers sign a contract or NDA when they’ll be dealing with your company’s IP?

Yes. They should if it involves confidential or sensitive information.

Tips by Daniel Jovevski

1. Maintain transparency

2. Don’t burn bridges when leaving

3. Make sure you leave a good legacy

4. Deliver the pay forms

5. Keep your support at work with people you knew

Tips by Hament Chavda

1. Know your identity, vision, mission and values

2. Hire the right people

3. Invest in the health and well being of the team

4. Look at what the team loves and what they are great at

5. Lead by example

Tips by Dominique Engelter

Business owners can take certain me a sures safeguard their intellectual property:

1. Formalize your employer’s contract with your employees.

Determine and define what information is confidential in your contract depending on yourtypeofbusiness

2. Make employees use your own personalized email servers to keep an eye on correspondences and to have access to their documents

3. Knowledge is power, so know what your employees are doing and what their position in life is


Dominique Engelter: William & Hughes Lawyers

Daniel Jovevski: Switch My Loan

Hament Chavda: Coach26


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