Your business’s trade secrets give you a competitive edge in the marketplace. But if you don’t properly safeguard them, they can be leaked, cutting your legs out from under you. This, in turn, can leave your business struggling to survive. In other words, when it comes to trade secret protection, the stakes are high.
What can you do to protect your trade secrets going into 2024?
For some businesses, protecting trade secrets seems nearly impossible. However, there are effective protection strategies that you can implement to keep your trade secrets safe. Here are a few ways to do that:
- Focus on employees: Many trade secrets are leaked by current employees or disgruntled former employees. You might be able to head this off by interviewing your potential employees more carefully and requiring them to sign confidentiality agreements and, potentially, non-compete agreements.
- Address collaboration: Your trade secrets might be shared if your business is working collaboratively with another company on a project. Here, you’ll want to ensure that you utilize non-disclosure agreements so that you keep your trade secrets safe, and ensure that there’s a clear understanding that secrets should only be disclosed when absolutely necessary.
- Enhance security: If you can’t figure out how your trade secrets are getting out to others, then it’s going to be hard to stop it. To avoid this from happening to your business, you can implement stricter security measures, such as establishing visitor protocols, utilizing access badges, hiring overnight security, monitoring facility access, and putting a cybersecurity team in place.
There are other steps that you can take to protect your trade secrets, so make sure you’re utilizing the holistic approach you need to keep your business safe.
What about enforcement?
If your trade secrets are compromised, then you need to take legal action. By demonstrating that a trade secret was misappropriated in violation of an existing contractual agreement, you might be able to secure the following remedies:
- Injunction: An injunction will prevent the party who has obtained your trade secret form using it or disclosing it any further.
- Damages: If you’ve been harmed by the misappropriation of a trade secret, then you should be able to recover compensation for the damage that’s been caused to your business.
- Return of the secret: When trade secrets are stolen, they’re often stored on digital devices, or they may even be captured in physical documents and photographs. In these instances, you can recover the secret itself, giving you assurance that’s it’s not floating around amongst your competitors.
How can you mitigate the risks of trade secret theft?
In addition to the strategies discussed above, there may be other opportunities for you to mitigate the risk of trade secret theft. This includes building up workplace morale and creating a culture where policies are enforced evenly and fairly. You can also utilize an exit strategy for employees who leave your business so that they fully understand their contractual obligations as they pertain to trade secrets. You’ll also want to revisit your existing policies and practices, as well as your cybersecurity protocols, so that you provide as much protection as possible.
Do you need help addressing your trade secret-related issues?
If so, then you might want to learn as much as you can about the law in this area, which might sound challenging. Fortunately, there are advocates out there who may be able to help you properly address your trade secret concerns so that you can move into 2024 confident that your best interests are as fully protected as possible.