Trade secrets are a crucial component of your company’s success. This fact also makes your trade secrets vulnerable to theft. When your competitors get their hands on your trade secrets, your advantage can disappear overnight.
Because the potential for theft is ever-present, here are five key steps you can take to help protect your company’s trade secrets.
1. Determine the secrets that require protection
It seems obvious, but it’s of the utmost importance that you identify the information that is most important to protect. Protecting too little leaves you vulnerable. Covering everything will weaken the power of a trade secret. You must determine the proper balance to receive the full benefit of trade secret protections.
2. Label documents as trade secret protected
You can’t simply declare that a file or a document is trade secret protected and call it a day. Other people need to be made aware that something is protected. Label these documents as “confidential” or “for internal use only.”
3. Use secure storage methods
You should keep hard copies in a locked file cabinet. You should store your computer files on a secure server. You may wish to consider performing a security check. If you have an IT department, request that they review your system. If you don’t have a dedicated IT team, an outside firm can help uncover potential vulnerabilities.
4. Only share as much as you need to
If you’re working with an outside party, determine what exactly they need to know to perform their job. If it’s essential to reveal a trade secret, have the outside party sign a confidentiality agreement.
5. Remember the global marketplace
Theft of trade secrets is not confined to these shores. Be wary of what you reveal to your international partners.
A skilled legal professional can help you address all of your trade secret matters. It’s essential that you protect all of your hard work.