Trade Secrets: Psst! Got a Great Idea?

Here's how to grow your business without giving away your trade secrets

Dwane Pass had a great idea for a new business: a proprietary wireless system that would allow physicians to check medical records and write prescriptions on handheld computers. All he needed to launch the product that his company was developing was a partner with an established customer base. So he approached Medical Manager Health Systems of Tampa, Fla., whose software had helped thousands of doctors manage their medical practices. In return for access to those physicians, says Pass, 45, he gave plans for his wireless system to John Kang, then co-CEO at Medical Manager. But after he handed over his company's...

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