Trade Secret Protection

Chris Hanslik

September 2, 2009

Companies with trade secrets should adopt a policy prohibiting and/or limiting the copying, disclosure, or dissemination of the confidential information. Recommended steps to protect the trade secrets are:

  • Mark your trade secret information as “confidential” or a similar label. Provide access to trade secret information only to people within the company who reasonably “need to know”.
  • Ensure all employees or third-parties (such as consultants, independent contractors, clients or potential clients, or financial institutions) with access to trade secrets sign a non-disclosure agreement. Adopt as many security measures as possible (i.e. cameras, fences, use of visitor badges, “restricted area” signs . . .), including computer security precautions.
  • Make an inventory of your trade secrets and document any measures taken to protect its confidentiality (including location, security measures, and persons with access).

Going through this exercise will help a company accurately assess whether it truly has a trade secret that is capable of being protected in the event litigation arises in the future.