There are varying types of intellectual property (IP) that businesses need to protect. Sometimes, their owners could register them to formalize ownership, such as patents. However, some forms of IP do not require or allow registration, including trade secrets.
By nature, trade secrets need no procedural protections. Instead, federal law imposes provisions that keep them from theft and other misuse. States could also have expanded versions of trade secret protection laws.
These policies provide indefinite protection if the IP meets the criteria of a trade secret. Businesses bear the responsibility of exhausting tools and resources to maintain these qualities. The following requirements apply for a trade secret to receive protection by law:
- Secrecy: The subject information is kept confidential by the company, meaning it is not accessible to the public or other groups that deal with similar information. Select people within the organization could know about it.
- Business or commercial value: Knowing this information could bring actual or potential value to another company.
- Protective measures: The business that owns this information protects it using reasonable methods, such as nondisclosure agreements, physical limitations within its facility and information security. Firms might also raise awareness among their employees about keeping the trade secrets confidential.
Big and small firms make extensive efforts to comply with these conditions. By doing so, they are in a much stronger position if legal action is taken because someone steals their trade secrets.
The law is on your side
Trade protection laws imposes penalties against the violators who unlawfully disclosed, used, or gained access to your business’ trade secrets. Still, enforcing the law will depend on a case-to-case basis because of the information leak’s circumstances.
A valid case requires unfair, improper or negligent conduct, leading to the trade secret theft. An investigation could reveal these details, helping you resolve related disputes in or out of court.
As a business owner, you bear responsibility for protecting your trade secrets. Doing so can help secure your livelihood.