How Do You Properly Protect Trade Secrets?
When you decided to start your own company, you took on all of the challenges and risks associated with business ownership. Most industries are competitive, especially those involving trade secrets. Once you understand what qualifies as trade secrets, you can then decide how to protect them from your competition.
What Constitutes a Trade Secret?
Though many do not realize it, trade secrets are defined by law, in the Uniform Trade Secrets Act. In layman’s terms, a trade secret is any information, formula, program, device or technique that offers a unique economic advantage to one company and can be reasonably kept a secret. Essentially, trade secrets give a company a leg up on the competition, and losing that secret can be extremely harmful to their bottom line, not to mention their long-term sustainability.
Protecting Your Trade Secrets
The first step in keeping your business safe is to consult with a qualified business attorney. Just as they assist you with patents, copywriting, or owner agreements, they can also help protect your trade secrets. Here are a few key ways you can ensure that your business information remains private:
- Use password protection on any sensitive information.
- Have certain areas of your facility off-limits to unauthorized personnel.
- Use ID badges or other coded ways to physically restrict unwanted visitors from gaining access to sensitive information.
- Restrict use of photography within your facility.
- Ensure all employees with access to trade secrets sign confidentiality agreements.
It is also important to remember that not taking these steps can result in your defeat in a court of law. When someone files a lawsuit claiming that their trade secrets were stolen, the court will use a variety of different factors to determine whether the information or technology constitutes a valid trade secret; therefore, it is important to show that you treated this information as valuable. If you have questions about trade secrets or are looking for the best ways to ensure that your secrets remain protected, contact Jeffrey Cymrot of Sassoon & Cymrot for individual guidance and consultation.