In my 8/12/20 post Does Your Company Do the Basics of Trade Secret Protection? I invited readers to check back the following week when I would discuss Engaging Employees to Protecting Your Trade Secrets.
Clearly, I missed my target date. Mea culpa!
Once you have figured out what your company’s trade secrets are, it is vital to engage your employees in the effort to protect them from improper use or disclosure.
How to Engage Employees in Protecting Trade Secrets.
- Remind employees that company prosperity is vital to employee prosperity. Coca Cola is a $40B+ (sales) company employing over 100,000 people worldwide. What might be their sales and headcount if the company hadn’t taken reasonable steps to keep the Coca Cola syrup formula a secret?
- Your management team needs continually to review the company’s processes to ensure that each trade secret is being treated with the respect it deserves.
- Regularly ask your employees to describe the problems they have solved. Such solutions probably contain trade secrets!
- Make sure that you disclose any particular trade secret only to the employees who truly need access to them to do their jobs.
- Give each employee a written description of the trade secret, and have each employee sign an acknowledgement that they have been provided the trade secret only for the purposes of doing their jobs. Put copies of the signed forms in their HR files.
- Finally, have an exit interview process where departing employees sign written acknowledgements of the trade secrets that were disclosed to them.
These steps will reduce the risk of inadvertent disclosure, and make it easier to bring to justice those who knowingly steal 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