Keys for protecting trade secrets

| Oct 25, 2019 | San Francisco Civil Litigation Blog |

Doing business in the modern world is a complex process, with new and surprising threats emerging constantly. As businesses compete and navigate their industries, trade secret protection becomes more and more important, particularly in an age where stealing proprietary knowledge can happen in seconds.

For many businesses, trade secret security is an enormous issue without a “set it and forget it” solution. Not only must a business establish policies and tools to help keep their trade secrets safe, they must also continually revisit these solutions to address new threats. A strong legal strategy helps ensure that businesses of all sizes have the tools and guidance they need to keep their secrets protected while meeting the needs of their clients.

Building strong protections around trade secrets requires understanding these threats and helping businesses understand how they should build their own policies and protective measures. Building a relationship of understanding and trust between a business’s administrative teams and their legal counsel keeps the focus of the relationship on meeting the business’s security needs so that they can focus on everything else.

Do employees understand the need for secrecy?

Trying to keep a secret gets more and more difficult as the number of people who have access to the secret grows larger. As a business builds its trade secret policies and protective measures, it is important to create powerful messaging around “why” and “how” for employees and others who may have access. In many cases, trade secrets are kept close to the vest even within a business.

Once a protection policy is in place, employees and others with access should receive clear training around how to comply, and businesses are wise to monitor compliance. The good news on this front is that technology now makes it much easier to track who accesses protected information, when they access it and which devices were used.

Establish clear responses to trade secrecy violations

The difficult truth about trade secrets is that they are increasingly difficult to keep hidden. While it is not always possible to avoid trade secret disclosure, a swift and consistent response to any party violating these boundaries can set a useful precedent.

If a company simply throws up their hands or looks the other way when their secrets get out or they learn of some party or another attempting to steal secrets, the violation will probably occur again.

Companies that act quickly to respond consistently and firmly to trade secret violations stand a good chance of maintaining secrecy control. In many instances, competitors who see that stealing a trade secret may be more trouble than it is worth will simply look elsewhere for an advantage.

Protecting trade secrets is not a simple process, but it is necessary in many industries. As you work to protect the needs and concerns of your clients, be sure to use all the high-quality legal guidance and resources available to meet your clients’ expectations while keeping your rights and priorities secure.

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