Information that gives your business a competitive edge is crucial and is classified as a trade secret. Every business has its trade secrets, and it is necessary to protect the business from anyone who plans to use them without their knowledge. The trade secret law outlines a secret as something that has economic value since it’s a secret.
It helps you to keep things related to your business a secret from your competitors. Remember, if you are unable to keep the proprietary information under wraps, you will be left with no opportunity to complain that it has been stolen. So, how do you protect it? Keep reading then!
Trade Secrets vs. Trademarks, Copyrights, and Patents
Trade secrets are supposed to be known by no one outside the company. If a company wishes to patent an idea but the word gets out, the organization’s ambitions will fail. You need to make sure that you protect your business ideas with patents, copyrights, or trademarks.
However, this protection is not similar to the way you would like to protect your trade secret. Suppose, you want to develop a brand new app that deals with evaluating customers in a way different from any other app, you first need to keep that as a trade secret. You can even patent it and later on, sell it. There is, in fact, no time limitation as far as keeping facts secret is concerned. You can make your trade secret public, but you need to protect it through an intellectual property lawsuit. This will ensure that your business ideas stay safe.
Federal and State Trade Secret Laws
Do you know about the Uniform Trade Secrets Act or UTSA? It has come up with a uniform law that every state can use thwart theft and swindling of trade secrets by means which are improper and unlawful. The means can also include misrepresentation of facts, breach of contract, espionage, and bribery as well.
Today, almost 47 American states have adopted the Uniform Trade Secrets Act. Other states have adopted different laws. You need to be aware of your state’s law to ensure that you realize how the protections can benefit your business. According to the 1996 Economic Espionage Act, no foreign power can get access to trade secrets that can harm a company’s prospects. Any individual or organization violating this act can be tried in a civil or a criminal court.
Steps To Protect Your Trade Secrets
The way to protect your trade secrets happens to be a continuous process that you need to follow while maintaining your business. The best way to protect your business is by being vigilant constantly. First, identify what trade secrets your company has. Then, you need to put a seal that states ‘confidential’ on them. Confidentiality can be of various levels.
Jot down a list of important positions and the kind of secret they are aware of. You must have complete control over who gets access to the secrets. Involve the key people and get them to agree. Ask them to put their signature on a non-disclosure agreement or confidentiality agreement. Provide proper training on how to guard the trade secrets to everyone working in your company. When a theft occurs, up the security system. However, legal help is mandatory as well. Hire an attorney who has a thorough knowledge of trade secret law. They can advise you on various policies as well as procedures.
What Would You Do If Trade Secrets Are Stolen?
In case, someone steals your trade secrets, you can take several steps before, during, or after you file a lawsuit. The first step is calling upon an attorney who can get an injunction for you. An injunction, also known as injunctive relief, minimizes the damage your business has incurred.
It can be a temporary injunctive relief or permanent, based on the situation and proceedings. The next step is to start litigation against the theft. If the court passes a judgment in your favor, you can collect the lost revenue and other damages.
Every big business house has its trade secrets that they safeguard from getting leaked or stolen. Trade secrets comprise some invaluable information that no company would like to reveal and give its competitors an edge over them.