The Company is committed to a high level of legal and ethical standards in the conduct of our business. It is the policy of the Company to compete fairly in the market place. This commitment to fairness includes respecting the intellectual property rights of our customers, business partners, competitors, and others, including original equipment manufacturers and other independent service organizations. No Company employee, independent contractor, or agent should steal or misuse the intellectual property rights owned or maintained by another.
The purpose of this Policy is to help maintain the Company's reputation as a fair competitor, ensure the integrity of the competitive market place in intellectual property, and comply with the laws regulating intellectual property and industrial espionage.
This Policy applies to all employees, independent contractors, agents, and directors of the Company, its subsidiaries, business units, partnerships, and joint ventures where the Company has a majority ownership position or exercises management control.
The Company is committed to protecting its own intellectual property, such as information, processes, and technology, from infringement by others. The Company's informational tools are available at our disposal because of significant investments of time and Company funds. If our intellectual property is not properly protected, it becomes available to others who have not made similar investments. This would cause us to lose our competitive advantage and compromise our ability to provide unique services to our customers.
The Company's intellectual property includes confidential Company business information, trade secret technology (such as computer software and systems and know how related to them), patented inventions and processes, and service marks, trade dress, and copyrighted works. It is our responsibility of every Company employee to protect Company property. It is the responsibility of Company managers and supervisors to foster and maintain awareness of the importance of protecting the Company's l property.
The Company is also committed to respecting the intellectual property of others. The rules with respect to property of the organization, including misappropriation of business information and trade secrets (e.g., computer systems, software, and related know how) and infringement of patents, and service marks and copyrights are complex, also seeks expert advice from the Company's attorneys to address specific issues that arise with respect to our business. In many instances the Company's attorneys can perform searches for pre-existing patents, trademarks or service marks, or copyrights. Company attorneys can also evaluate business information to help avoid infringing conduct.
While collecting data on the Company's competitors, we use legal, ethical resources to prevent the tainting of Company operations with the proper introduction of the proprietary information of third parties. Substantial civil and criminal penalties may be levied against any act of misconduct. It is not proper to accumulate information concerning competitors, and it is generally unethical or illegal to make use of the information as part of our business. Indeed, the Company or any other business could hardly go on without being able to use information that has developed regarding its competitors in order to analyze the market place for business decisions. But care must be taken by all Company employees, independent contractors, and agents to utilize legitimate resources to collect information concerning competitors and to avoid those actions which are illegal, unethical, or which could be unfavorable to the organization. When a situation is unclear, employees, independent contractors, and agents should contact Company management. Company management may use its discretion contact the Company's attorneys.
The following are examples of the types of activities that might constitute a violation of the laws protecting intellectual property or the Company's policies. If you encounter a similar situation, you are encouraged to contact Company management for assistance.
• Adopting or using a name, or symbol for goods or services that is confusingly similar to a name, or symbol used by another.
• Making or using a process, product, or device that incorporates patented ideas or features belonging to another.
• Failing to act upon notice or information that the Company may be infringing a patent belonging to another.
• Using a design that is confusingly similar to the design of another's product or service, and causing confusion in the minds of consumers as to who is the source of the product or service.
• Disclosing to others any information received in confidence from or protected from disclosure by a supplier, contractor, customer, or third party.
• Stealing, soliciting, or using the trade-secret information of another without written permission from the owner of the information. DO NOT DIRECTLY OR INDIRECTLY SOLICIT, OBTAIN, OR USE TRADE-SECRET INFORMATION BELONGING TO NEW OR EXISTING COMPANY EMPLOYEES, INDEPENDENT CONTRACTORS, OR AGENTS, ORIGINAL EQUIPMENT MANUFACTURERS, SUPPLIERS, VENDORS, CUSTOMERS, OR THIRD PARTIES. IF YOU ARE AWARE THAT ANY COMPANY EMPLOYEE, INDEPENDENT CONTRACTOR, OR AGENT MAY BE USING OR DISCUSSING TRADE SECRETS OF HIS OR HER FORMER EMPLOYER OR THIRD PARTY IN HIS OR HER WORK FOR THE COMPANY, YOU MUST CONSULT WITH COMPANY MANAGEMENT IMMEDIATELY.
Company Staffs, directors, independent contractors, and agents should not disclose Company proprietary or confidential information to third parties with whom the Company is doing business with, such as suppliers, or consultants, except as specifically needed for the third party to perform the services or task requested. Such third parties should be provided information only on a “need to know” basis to allow them to perform the specific services or task requested. All disclosure of Company proprietary or confidential information may be made only after a confidentiality agreement has been entered with the third party