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When Comrades Go Bad

Protecting yourself from business allies turned business <i>competitors</i>

By Jacquelyn Lynn

Opinions expressed by Entrepreneur contributors are their own.

It's a nightmare you don't even want to think about: The"reliable" supplier you've been using for years hasunexpectedly bypassed sell to your customers. Worse yet,because of your past business relationship and their knowledge ofyour company, it's become an especially strong competitor. Whatshould you do? And, equally important, what can you do to preventsuch a scenario from ever happening in the first place?

Unfortunately, you can't stop another company from changingits direction, but you can take steps to prevent it fromusing your business as a springboard. Begin by recognizing thevalue of your proprietary information, says William H. RobbinsonJr., an attorney with Winderweedle, Haines, Ward & Woodman inOrlando, Florida. "Companies have a variety of proprietaryinformation that they develop or acquire that has great value tothem and can be protected in a number of ways."

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