Trade secrets are pieces of confidential information--such as business processes, compiled information, formulas or patterns--that give a business a competitive advantage over competing companies. Many companies protect their trade secrets by requiring employees, suppliers and partners to sign non-disclosure agreements (NDAs) and through the use of non-compete clauses in employment contracts. If a current or prospective employer asks you to sign an NDA or non-compete agreement, consult with a trade secrets attorney before doing so. Your lawyers can review the proposed agreement, explain its legal ramifications and help you negotiate with the company. Trade secrets law firms can also assist companies that believe confidential or proprietary information has been stolen or misappropriated, and defend those who have been accused of theft of trade secrets.