Identifying and Protecting Your Company's Trade Secrets

On behalf of Faricy Law Firm, P.A. posted in blog on Thursday, November 9, 2017.

Have you found the secret to success for your business? Do you have a leg up on the competition that could devastate your business if you lose control of certain information? If you answer yes to these questions, then you probably have trade secrets.

Keeping your business healthy and profitable requires taking steps to keep your trade secrets, well, secret. Since this type of information generally isn't eligible for the same protections as, say, patents, you need to protect your trade secrets from within your company. The challenge may be figuring out just how to do that.

Step one: Clearly identify your trade secrets

Before you can protect any information, you need to identify it. The following common types of trade secrets may help you figure out what in your company needs protection:

  • Unpatented processes and inventions
  • Customer information
  • Unique products
  • Financial information
  • Legal information
  • Research projects
  • Drawings
  • Laboratory notebooks
  • Blueprints
  • Marketing information
  • Recruiting strategies
  • Test data
  • Training manuals

The above may be common, but in reality, anything that you want kept from prying eyes that provides you with an economic advantage could be a trade secret.

Step two: Implement protections for your trade secrets

Now that you have identified what you consider the trade secrets of your company, consider implementing the following strategies to keep them safe and secret:

  • Access restriction
  • Policy creation and dissemination
  • Document labeling
  • Computer file labeling
  • Physical isolation
  • Confidentiality requirements

You may also need to ensure that any outsiders who come into your company do not have ready access to your trade secrets. This may involve more than just putting documents away. You may need to keep third parties out of certain areas of your company, especially if getting a glimpse of your operations would reveal your trade secrets.

Step three: Taking legal action to protect your trade secrets

You may benefit from help to determine the best ways to protect your trade secrets. Creating a policy may be a good idea, but not if it fails to maximize your protection. What words provide your documents and computer files with the appropriate protections? Addressing these issues may require appropriate advice and assistance.

You may find yourself in a situation where you need to explore your legal options regarding your trade secrets. Preventive measures may not always be enough to protect your information. You may need to pursue litigation in order to safeguard the future of your business and you do not have to embark on that endeavor alone.

Practice Areas:  Trade Secrets Litigation