Confidentiality Agreement

Business By cupcakeatheart Updated 21 Feb 2012 , 3:42pm by MimiFix

cupcakeatheart Posted 20 Feb 2012 , 5:41pm
post #1 of 11

Would anyone mind sharing a confidentiality agreement they use with new employees? I'm getting ready to hire a person to help me out part time and would like her to sign something to protect my recipes, but not really sure where to start.

Thanks for the help

10 replies
FullHouse Posted 20 Feb 2012 , 6:49pm
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Your best source in an attorney, or you will not know if it is legally binding in your state. Just a few words, can make a difference.

MimiFix Posted 20 Feb 2012 , 8:33pm
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Confidentiality agreements can work successfully to limit things such as where an ex-employee can work, or to stop them from opening a similar business within a certain number of miles, or those kinds of issues. But I don't know how practical it can be for limiting someone's use of your recipes. It's too easy for an employee to copy and pass on (or sell) any recipe they have access to.

If you are concerned enough to care about stopping them from using one of your recipes, I suggest you don't let them have complete access. Be creative and rewrite your recipes. Put baking soda, baking powder, salt, spices, etc, into different containers with other names or numbers. The recipe would have the assistant baker add 2 tablespoons xx or 1/4 cup yy. I began doing this after a competitor told me one of my employees offered to sell her my recipes.

costumeczar Posted 20 Feb 2012 , 9:33pm
post #4 of 11
Quote:
Originally Posted by MimiFix

If you are concerned enough to care about stopping them from using one of your recipes, I suggest you don't let them have complete access. Be creative and rewrite your recipes. Put baking soda, baking powder, salt, spices, etc, into different containers with other names or numbers. The recipe would have the assistant baker add 2 tablespoons xx or 1/4 cup yy. I began doing this after a competitor told me one of my employees offered to sell her my recipes.




This is the best idea for this kind of thing...it would be way too easy for people to take your recipes, and there's no way that you could prove it.

pummy Posted 20 Feb 2012 , 9:49pm
post #5 of 11

Why not pre measure your dry ingredients at least?

Foxicakes Posted 20 Feb 2012 , 10:19pm
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Certainly if Coke and Pepsi, Apple and Microsoft, can have these types of agreements with their employees, I wouldn't see why a baker couldn't have the same thing. Why don't you contact some better known bakers and ask them the same thing. Like, say for instance Pink Cake Box. They seem to be quite open about most things (like putting up a video each time they create a new "masterpiece" cake) Surely, if you were to ask them a benign question like, "How do you keep your baker's from stealing your recipes?" They would be happy to answer the question and maybe even send you a copy of their Non-Disclosure Agreement that they have their staff sign.
Another way, I think that could help you is to do like most of the larger companies do and assign only one or two (depending on your volume) people to be responsible for only the baking in the business-no decorating, unless it's dirty icing, or making gumpaste flowers or figures in their down time. This is-at least how I understand it- the way the it is done at Carlo's Bakery (Cake Boss), Ace of Cakes, Ron Ben Israel, and Sylvia Weinstock's bakery's.

Anyway, HTH...

jason_kraft Posted 20 Feb 2012 , 10:39pm
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You also need to look at what your recourse is if the employee violates the agreement. How much would litigation cost, what are your chances of winning (it can be tough to prove that a cake recipe was not developed independently), how much of a judgment would you receive in various IP theft scenarios, and would you be able to collect that judgment?

You'll probably find that a proactive solution like MimiFix's suggestion of adding an abstraction layer between the recipe and the ingredients is a better choice.

writersblock15 Posted 21 Feb 2012 , 12:01am
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Assuming they signed a confidentiality agreement, you wouldn't know if an employee posted your recipes online under an anonymous name. Since recipes cannot be copyrighted, you would have a hard time proving it was them.

scp1127 Posted 21 Feb 2012 , 8:19am
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Coke and Pepsi do not divulge their recipes to their employees. They aren't that stupid. The recipe is under lock and key with different departments performing different parts of the job. This is the exact information that Mimi and costumeczar both suggested.

I can't imagine being able to legally protect your recipes. You can only protect specific wording from being re-published. If you want to protect them, devise a system.

Be very careful about wording any non-compete or confidentiality agreement. I was forced to sign and comply with one that was illegal in our state. It was so complicated that my new employer had to call in a legal firm familiar with employment law. What I want to point out is that if you have an employee sign one worded incorrectly or illegal for your state, you may be liable for quite a bit of damages. I was the recipient of an award of over $100K for my old company interfering with my right to work (that is the charge). Most attorneys, unless they specialize in employment law, will not know the state law for these agreements.

cupcakeatheart Posted 21 Feb 2012 , 3:22pm
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Thanks everyone for your input. I appreciate your help and wisdom icon_smile.gif I'll give MimiFix's idea a shot, definitely wouldn't want to put myself in a compromising position.

MimiFix Posted 21 Feb 2012 , 3:42pm
post #11 of 11
Quote:
Originally Posted by cupcakeatheart

Thanks everyone for your input. I appreciate your help and wisdom icon_smile.gif I'll give MimiFix's idea a shot, definitely wouldn't want to put myself in a compromising position.




Great! This is a very easy fix and will relieve you of further anxiety about keeping your recipes private.

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