As part of our technology and data practice, we provide trade secret protection services.
Trade Secret Protection
The phrase trade secret refers to a special intellectual property (IP) asset that is unique and not reasonably ascertainable by others. Businesses generally leverage trade secret protection to attain a business advantage over their competitors. Some refer to trade secrets simply as “confidential information.”
Trade Secret Protection Through Confidentiality and Non-Compete Agreements
Because of its confidential nature, seeking trade secret protection can be difficult. Trade secrets are not registerable. Generally, most forms of intellectual property require registration or public disclosure to secure federal protection. By contrast, trade secret protection generally requires secrecy or confidentiality to remain protectable. Therefore, the protection of confidentiality of trade secrets via non-disclosure agreements or non-competition agreements can be important.
Non-disclosure agreements are legal, binding contracts that protect confidential material, knowledge, or information shared between parties. NDAs should be used with employees, vendors, and any parties that could potentially get knowledge about your trade secret.
Non-competition agreements are legal contracts that protect a business from unfair competition. One party, typically an employee, agrees not to take knowledge learned from employment with the business and use it to compete. This can protect a business in the event a trade secret is disclosed to an employee that later leaves the business.
Therefore, trade secret protection may involve use of NDAs and non-compete agreements, in addition to other proactive preventative measures.
Proactive Measure for Maintaining Trade Secret Confidentiality
Many companies are unaware that the duration of trade secret rights do not expire as long as it remains confidential. This trade secret protection is in contrast with most other intellectual property rights. Therefore, preserving confidentiality of such an invaluable business asset is detrimental to maintaining an edge on competition. Our IP attorneys provide guidance on implementation of processes and procedures to help ensure protection of a business trade secret. Proactive measures help prevent the leak of a business secret. In addition, use of confidentiality and employment agreements will provide additional layers of security and recourse in case of breach. These processes and agreements will help make dispute resolution or litigation more effective and efficient.
Companies often realize too late that lax procedures or a lack of written agreements can jeopardize the availability of legal remedies. We can analyze procedures for securing confidential information against the factors that courts use to evaluate grant of protection. Some of the additional services we provide for trade secret protection include:
Due diligence investigations
Employee entrance and exit counseling
Employee training policies
Trade secret identification
Trade Secret Disputes and Litigation
Read more about our litigation services at our intellectual property litigation overview page and our business litigation overview page, including Non-compete Litigation, Trade Secret Litigation, and Unfair Competition Litigation.