What is reasonable protection of your company’s trade secrets?

On Behalf of | May 12, 2021 | Business Litigation

There are a lot of companies that invest significant resources in building their operational process, client list and other assets valuable company assets that fall into the category of trade secrets. They wouldn’t want to do anything that would result in these competitive assets falling into a competitor’s hands.

Any entity in possession of trade secrets must fiercely protect its access to that proprietary information. An intellectual property (IP) owner may find it challenging to allege an infringement, or violation, of their rights unless they do. Understanding what constitutes “reasonable” protection can be difficult to determine.

What must you do to reasonably protect your intellectual property rights?

You should first start by taking time to identify what IP you need to protect in generalized terms. This description will allow anyone who might gain access to that information to clearly understand what is proprietary.

It’s critical that you draft handling instructions for that information. You need to document who can gain access to it and under what circumstances. You should aim to keep your pool of individuals who have access to the information very limited.

Anyone who may gain access to your IP should sign a confidentiality agreement. You should clearly detail any steps that a contractor or employee with access to it should take to avoid having this valuable information ending up in the wrong hands. That agreement should clearly detail what happens if they disclose this information as well.

All IP holders must take security measures themselves to safeguard access to their proprietary information. This may include keeping valuable assets such as these under lock and key off-premises or storing them on a password-protected electronic device. IP owners must also regularly assess their safeguard measures to identify any potential vulnerabilities.

Defending your intellectual property rights

If you file a lawsuit against someone you suspect of violating your intellectual property rights, a judge will likely ask about the safeguards you took to protect your proprietary information from getting into others’ hands. An attorney can advise you of how your response regarding these efforts will likely impact your chances of prevailing in your case.