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How to protect trade secrets

There are important steps companies can take help protect their trade secrets that they should be familiar with. Trade secret concerns can be significant and can range from the removal of a customer list to the removal of top secret drawings and specifications. In either case, businesses should know what to do.

How to keep trade secrets protected

There are several important steps businesses can take to help keep their trade secrets protected including:

  • Identify what needs to be protected – businesses should identify what information needs to be protected.
  • Label documents that need to be protected – documents that need to be protected and contain trade secrets should be properly labeled.
  • Monitor where information is stored and secured – businesses should conduct audits to determine where sensitive information is stored and who has access to it.
  • Secure computers – all computers that contain sensitive information should be password protected.
  • Maintain secrecy with outside vendors – if outside contractors or vendors are used, the company should maintain strict confidentiality agreements with them.
  • Provide adequate security – the amount of security may depend on the size of the business. If it is smaller, a locked file cabinet may be adequate but if it is larger, badges, security guards and a security protocol may be needed.
  • Limit public access – public access to confidential documents should be limited and a sign-in sheet to view them should be required and maintained.
  • Set up employee training policies – employees who handle, or have access to, sensitive information that includes trade secrets should be required to sign a non-disclosure agreement. Additionally, employees should be familiar with company policies for properly handling and protecting sensitive information.
  • Be cautious internationally – U.S. trade secret policies may not be the same everywhere and companies should take this into account when operating internationally.

There are several steps that businesses can take to help protect their trade secrets, however, sometimes litigating a trade secret dispute may be necessary. Businesses concerned with trade secrecy should be familiar with how to protect their trade secrets and also with business laws that can help protect business owners when trade secrets have been compromised.