Not every business practice or information can be referred to as a trade secret. It has to derive financial value from being a secret, and the business has to take reasonable steps to protect such information.
Trade secrets can include:
- Ideas that give your business a competitive edge.
- Research and design of a product.
- Market information.
- Any other information that has value to the company and is unknown to the outside world.
In most instances, leaking trade secrets can have adverse effects on your business, and it is important to go the extra mile in protecting what might be your biggest asset.
What the law says about leaking trade secrets
At both the state and federal levels, the law protects state secrets. For instance, the Defend Trade Secrets Act (DTSA) enacted in 2016 at the federal level provides legal recourse for victims of trade secrets espionage, theft, or misappropriation of any kind. In addition, California has its state laws under the Uniform Trade Secrets Act that addresses trade secrets matters.
How to protect your business trade secrets
In this information age, there is a need to be even more vigilant. Prioritize the security of your business by employing the following steps.
- Restrict information access to only the people that need it. Some sensitive information is not meant for all eyes, and trade secrets come top of the list.
- Make use of nondisclosure agreements with your employees and business partners.
- Create an environment where compliance and monitoring thrive. It should not be difficult for you to trace the source of, say, a leak. In addition, regularly educating your workers on the same might go a long way.
- Adapt your security arrangements to the changing times. Virtual offices have created weak links that malicious people may exploit. It may be worthwhile to overhaul the entire information security system if working arrangements wholly shifted from in-office to working from home.
Intentionally stealing trade secrets is a crime, and in most cases, the damage is already done by the time you get to the culprit. If you have been a victim, fixing the leak or theft of your trade secrets can be complemented by seeking legal redress to ensure you get the justice you deserve.