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Santa Blog

Santa Clause on skies in Adelboden, SwitzerlandImage via Wikipedia

Dear Santa,

I am grateful for your organization’s intrepid spreading of holiday cheer, but it is apparent that you have not read recent blogs.

For example, it does not appear that you read about safeguarding your business trade secrets. Without contract language in place, employees who are dissatisfied with a holiday bonus of sugarplums, might walk off the job with a copy of the “nice list” or the secrets to reindeer aviation. If a competitor sets up shop at the South Pole, you have some ability to minimize [s]elfish measures by your staff.

How are you protecting confidential information? I would hate to have my prior wish for parachute pants or glitter headbands fall into the wrong hands.  If you don’t have methods of protecting information, business secrets may be purloined.  Although you want to avoid litigation, it is easier to make your case if you have systems in place. (See Nick v. Ebenezer, 2 N. Pole Rptr 23 and Herbie ex. rel. Santa v. Grinch, 4 N. Pole Rptr. 111).

Additionally, mall “santas” appear to be infringing on your territory. If you are working with the “santas", you may consider the protection of a non-compete, non-solicitation, or especially (wink) non-disclosure agreement. If you aren’t working with these ersatz santas, it may be too late to benefit from the intellectual property protection otherwise afforded to your red-suited, rosy-cheeked image and your toy production and distribution process.

Clearly, your current business structure does not appear to have a succession plan. As you approach another century mark in business, you may consider the inevitable conflict between Dave Claus and Mrs. Claus if you retire or fall off a roof. If you plan to sell the business to Mike Clause, get things in writing to avoid an elf walk out or reindeer guidance confusion. A smooth transition is more likely if ownership and management transitions are defined and styled to avoid disputes, taxes and regulatory interference.

A business that has existed successfully for such a long time should be hesitant to change the nature of what it does and anxious to protect its essence. Please deliver this message to all the old businesses who want to fortify a solid “shop”.

On a personal note, I appreciate the new gloves, and the best book for business owners . . . but next year . . . playoff tickets?

-Christine Branstad


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Interesting. I see Santa and I'm thinking I'll see some glitter headbands for stocking stuffers or something. The 'Dear Santa' headline was a bit misleading.

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