In my 8/5/20 post Is COVID-19 Putting Your Trade Secrets at Risk? I invited readers to check back next week when I discuss the Basics of Trade Secret Protection.
Next week is here!
What Are Trade Secrets?
Trade secrets are inventions and methods that have value to your company and that would lose the value if they were disclosed to your competitors.
There is a good chance every company has some trade secret information. Records about each customer’s point of contact and that customer’s product order history could be the stuff of trade secrets.
Your company may have developed an elegant process for manufacturing electronic devices that reduces the required time and materials by 30% from the industry standards for producing comparable devices. Such a process would almost certainly qualify as a trade secret.
What does each company need to do regarding Trade Secrets?
- Figure out what your trade secrets are.
- Label and lock up your trade secrets.
- Use physical and electronic security measures that are reasonable for the trade secrets you need to protect.
- Train your people about security in general and trade secrets in particular.
- Don’t call publicly available information a trade secret. If you have a list of your customers posted on your website, you have made the names of those customers public information. See the section, above, for a discussion of protecting certain customer information as a trade secret anyway.
- Do have a policy about employee use of company information and other property.
- Do have a Social Media policy.
Take the above steps or forget about suing or prosecuting employees for theft of your company’s trade secrets.
Check back next week for my discussion of engaging your employees in protecting your trade secrets.
Please note: the above post contains educational information. It is not intended as legal advice. Engage an attorney who is licensed in your state to get advice on dealing with any specific legal issue.
© 2020 Michael S. Oswald
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