Legal Question in Business Law in California

trade secret? need help.

I had worked for my former employer for 5 years as an individual contractor (1099 status). During the time, maybe 4th or 5th year, I started my own business in the same field with him. So we became competitors, and I had finally quit working for him to focus on my own business - 2 years ago.

A few days ago, my former employer found it out. He called me and threatened me to pay him 15% of the total profit that I have earned from my own business. Otherwise he'd sue me.

1. There had been NO any type of contract or agreement at all between us - I didn't sign anything.

2. He told me that I have used his business strategy for my business, but the strategy is so common that anyone in this field can know possibly. I haven't used any of his strategy as the matter of the fact.

Can he still sue me or right to demand 15% of my total profit?


Asked on 6/02/08, 9:42 pm

2 Answers from Attorneys

Michael Stone Law Offices of Michael B. Stone Toll Free 1-855-USE-MIKE

Re: trade secret? need help.

Anybody can sue anybody for anything, but it doesn't mean they have a case. Write him a letter and tell him to go pound sand. Or hire a lawyer to write the letter on the lawyer's letterhead. I write great Go Pound Sand letters, at reasonable prices.

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Answered on 6/02/08, 9:57 pm


Daniel Harrison Berger Harrison, APC

Re: trade secret? need help.

Of course he can still sue, but he likely wouldn't win. If you didn't steal or improperly use "trade secrets" of his, then I think you are permissibly competing.

What kind of employee were you? What was your job title? What were your duties? I ask these questions to determine whether you have a potential wage claim against your former employer. You may be able to such a claim as leverage in making him go away.

Feel free to email with the answers to my questions.

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Answered on 6/02/08, 10:24 pm

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