Do you know where the value of your company resides? Trade secrets include the information that must be kept secret in order to maintain your competitive advantage. It also must be treated as confidential and can include compilations, formulas, marketing ideas, devices, financial information, technical know-how, customer information, and supplier information. A trade secret is not information that competitors can obtain through proper means, such as taking a commercially available product and reverse engineering it.
Trade secret law states that proprietary business information that is confidential can be protected. The governing law is the Uniform Trade Secrets Act and most states have enacted this law as well. If protected properly, trade secrets may exist indefinitely. It is how you treat your confidential information that is the key because the owner of the secret must do all that is possible to preserve the confidentiality of this information. Most businesses are not considering all the ways that information can be released to the public, including open access by all employees, freely sharing information with prospective business partners without a confidentiality agreement and more. Once information gets out without your control, it is nearly impossible to get it back. On the other hand, proper control means that those that acquire the secrets may be barred from using the information or sharing it in any way.
Trade Secret Value
Trade secrets usually include the “secret sauce” of your business advantage, which is typically a vital part of your business operations. Each piece of a trade secret contains a segment of the information that makes your business different from its competitors. In many cases, trade secrets are the most valuable assets of the company due to the significant competitive advantages that they provide. However, this unlimited advantage only comes when trade secrets are properly protected.
Protecting Trade Secrets
Simply calling something confidential is not the best option for protecting it. There are a lot of factors to consider that include:
+ how easily the information can be reverse engineered by competitors;
+ whether you limit the access to your confidential information;
+ whether you are managing the use of the information by your employees;
+ if you have privacy policies in place;
+ whether you have confidentiality and nondisclosure agreements in place prior to disclosing any information.
Ovaile Law Group can help you determine whether or not keeping certain information as a trade secret is the best option for your company. We can help you by developing trade secret protection programs and implementing them. We can also help by identifying trade secrets and preparing confidentiality agreements for employees. If litigation is imminent, we can provide pre-litigation counseling and representation when it is needed in order to protect your secrets.
Ovaile Law Group Can Help
Your trade secrets may be the thing that makes the wheels of your business turn. If you are unsure if the information your business possesses should be classified as trade secrets or you need to take legal avenues to protect your information, call Ovaile Law Group at 612-326- 9733 and learn about all of the services available to protect your trade secrets from landing in the wrong hands.