Trade secrets are the building blocks that make your business successful. Trade secrets are intellectual property that you need to first identify and then figure out strategies to keep them protected. A specialized formula, a secret recipe and a unique way you process or make something can be considered a “secret”. Whatever makes your business stand out from the competition, what makes you different, might be one of your trade secrets. In order to protect your business, you first have to figure out what your trade secrets are.
Define Your Trade Secrets
While some trade secrets are obvious, such as special recipes, others will take longer to identify. Think about how your business runs, methods and techniques from sales, marketing, and operations, and picture your competition sitting in the room taking notes. Anything your competition might want to write down to get an edge could be considered a trade secret.
Keep Your Secrets Safe
If you have a trade secret written down on paper, the paper should be stored securely when not in use. If the trade secret is held electronically, you have to limit access to the trade secret. When you treat your trade secrets as precious, your staff are going to fall in line and treat your trade secrets the same way.
Educate Your Employees About Non-Disclosure Agreements
Each person hired by your company should be expected to sign a non-disclosure agreement that will help protect your trade secrets and confidential information. Educate your employees on the importance of keeping your trade secrets and spell out the penalties for disclosing protected information. Non-disclosure agreements protect your trade secrets from disclosure when an employee is working for you and when they terminate employment.
Know the Laws in Your State
The Uniform Trade Secrets Act identifies the protection provided for companies in the event a trade secret is stolen or shared. While trade secrets may not be protected by a trademark, patents or other legal registration, your company has the right to keep your confidential business information safe from the competition.
Take Action Against Any Trade Secret Violations
You must act fast when it comes to trade secret violations. If an individual misappropriates a trade secret for a foreign power or for commercial or economic purposes that individual may be charged criminally. Misappropriation of a trade secret may also be a civil matter, and the offender may be ordered to pay back profits if a trade secret is being used for their own gain. The offending party may also have to pay legal fees that result from the court filing.
To protect your trade secrets, know what they are and take steps to keep them safe. Your company’s success depends on your trade secrets. At Rogers DVS, our IP professionals can assist you in identifying your trade secrets by conducting an ipInventory. In addition, Rogers DVS can assist your legal counsel in a damages case by determining economic damages and/or as an expert witness. Contact us today by calling (704) 208-4185 x 1 or contact us here.