Most businesses have trade secrets they wish to protect. For that reason, they should be familiar with different tips for protecting trade secrets.
Tips for protecting trade secrets
Different tips can help businesses better protect their trade secrets including:
- Business should identify what needs to be protected – businesses should develop a process that identifies what material and what newly-created material needs secrecy and protection.
- Label documents that contain protected information – documents that contain or reflect trade secret information should be properly labeled confidential. Documents containing this information should be limited in circulation and be required to be checked out.
- Monitor where information is stored – audits should be conducted to determine where confidential information is stored and who has access to it. The different forms of information should all be reviewed.
- Secure computers – passwords should be required to access sensitive information and all computers containing sensitive information should be password protected.
- Maintain secrecy with outside vendors – strict confidentiality with outside vendors should be employed concerning trade secrets. When contracting with outside entities, it is advisable to select different contractors for different parts.
- Provide adequate security – businesses should employ security commensurate with the size of the business which may range from a locked file cabinet to security personnel, zones and badges.
- Limit public access – require the public to sign in and limit public tours.
- Use caution internationally – the level of respect for trade secrets may be different in different countries and businesses should be aware of this and exercise relevant care.
- Set up employee training and policies – train employees working with trade secrets in proper handling and require they sign non-disclosure agreements. Require any information be returned when employees exit the company and notify employees of any disciplinary policies related to mishandling trade secrets.
It is also helpful to have an attorney that will help protect trade secrets and to be familiar with the intellectual property laws that can help businesses protect their trade secrets. Trade secrets are important to many companies and equally important to know how to protect.