Protecting Trade Secrets In A World Where It Seems There Are None

The proprietary innovations individuals and organizations create are essentially the “secret recipe” that contributes to their success. For this reason, trade secrets are treated as a type of intellectual property that refers to any confidential business information that provides a competitive advantage to a company and is protected under the law. Although the progression and ease of data transfer technology and even social media have made it increasingly difficult to keep these secrets under lock and key, companies can take legal action against anyone who misappropriates or discloses their trade secrets without authorization.

Criteria For “Trade Secrets”

In order to legally qualify as a trade secret, the information must meet certain criteria. Naturally, being aware of its existence or having access to it must be kept out of public knowledge. It should not be generally known, or easily discoverable by others outside the privileged group. It must also provide a competitive advantage to the company. There should be a documented process that outlines the ways in which the company takes reasonable steps to keep the information confidential, such as a Non Disclosure Agreement (NDA) or security clearances.

The nature of secret information makes it somewhat difficult to determine whether other companies are using the same tactics and the real secret to success could lie elsewhere. Therefore the trade secrets need to be clearly identified. Examples often include formulas, processes, designs, customer lists, and marketing strategies

Methods To Protect Your Company’s Trade Secrets

To protect trade secrets, companies often use NDAs and other confidentiality agreements to ensure that employees, contractors, and business partners do not disclose confidential information to others and are aware of their legal obligation to maintain secrecy. Companies should also use physical and technological security measures, such as locks, passwords, security systems, data protection software, and employee training to prevent unauthorized access to trade secret information. 

Part of the process of protecting trade secrets is monitoring breaches. Investing in a strong data security system can prevent cyber attacks, and potentially report what data is being accessed by specific users or IP addresses. Notifying users of this kind of security protocol can also deter employees and contractors from sharing sensitive information.

Legal Recourse

If a company believes that their trade secrets have been misappropriated, they may take legal action to protect their rights. This may include seeking injunctive relief to prevent further disclosure of the trade secret, as well as seeking damages for any losses suffered as a result of the misappropriation. Trade secrets can have different legal protections depending on the location of the business due to state and federal industry-specific regulations. Some examples of legal recourse include, but are not limited to:

  • Trade Secret Misappropriation Claims
  • Injunctions
  • Criminal Prosecution
  • Damage Compensation

To ensure that justice is found and rights are protected, it’s essential to work with a professional and dedicated legal team that is experienced in protecting intellectual property. If your company is at risk of potential misappropriation, or is experiencing the misappropriation of trade secrets, contact the law firm of Baker Jenner online or by calling (404) 400-5955 for a consultation.

The following two tabs change content below.

Baker Jenner LLLP

Baker Jenner LLLP is a business solutions law firm. We partner with clients to achieve their goals while managing transactional, regulatory, and legal risks.

Latest posts by Baker Jenner LLLP (see all)