Tips to Protect Trade Secrets
Irvine trade secrets attorneys can provide you with help protecting your trade secrets. Your trade secrets provide an important competitive advantage for your organization and it is imperative that you do everything possible to ensure that your secrets are kept secure.
Brown & Charbonneau, LLP can provide guidance on what types of information can be considered trade secrets, on what steps you need to take to protect proprietary information, and how to take action if you suspect that your trade secrets are at risk of being disclosed.
We can also provide assistance putting an actionable plan in place to protect your trade secrets from any threats that your company may be facing. Give us a call today to find out about the assistance we can offer or read on to learn some important tips to protect trade secrets.
Tip: Understand What Type of Information is Considered a Trade Secret
The law is relatively broad in regards what can constitute a trade secret. For example, your price list and customer list could be a trade secret; proprietary recipes could be a trade secret; and operational efficiencies that you have developed could be a trade secret. Any program, pattern, process, or technique that has a commercial value and that your competitors could benefit from learning about could potentially be a trade secret.
However, while the law is broad, there are important criteria that must be fulfilled in order for a piece of information to be considered a trade secret. The most important criteria is that efforts must be made to maintain the secrecy of the information. If you have not taken steps to try to ensure your valuable information is actually kept secret, it cannot be a trade secret.
Maintain Strict Confidentiality Rules Regarding Trade Secrets
You should have policies and protocols in place to prevent your proprietary information from getting into the wrong hands. For example, you may want to keep important proprietary recipes locked up in a safe if you have a restaurant or if you prepare a food product and don’t want the recipes to get out. You may want to keep your customer lists in password protected files that are not widely accessible. Whatever your specific secrets, you should establish and follow best practices for keeping the secrets confidential.
Understand How the Laws Can Protect Your Secrets
While noncompete agreements are largely invalid in California, there are other agreements that you can use that are enforceable to try to protect your secrets. For example, you may be able to have an employee or partner sign a nondisclosure agreement promising to keep your trade secrets confidential.
There are also state laws prohibiting the disclosure of trade secrets, so even if you do not explicitly require staff members to sign a contract promising not to disclose your proprietary information, there may still be options for preventing disclosure and pursuing a legal remedy using the courts.
Teach Staff Members the Importance of Confidentiality
Those who work for your organization should be provided with training on the importance of maintaining confidentiality. Staff members should be expected to avoid any inadvertent disclosures that could jeopardize the secrecy of your company’s valuable information. Have policies in place, including disciplinary procedures, to ensure that staff members do not share information they should not.
Use the Court System to Keep Your Secrets Safe
You can make use of the courts to seek an injunction preventing the disclosure of your trade secrets. In order for the court to order someone not to disclose the secrets, you typically must prove substantial and/or irreparable harm would occur if secrets were disclosed. You can also seek monetary remedies in a civil lawsuit if someone has violated your organization’s privacy and caused loss by disclosing trade secrets.
Getting Help from Irvine Trade Secrets Attorneys
Whether you need guidance on whether a particular piece of information is a trade secret, you want help creating an enforceable nondisclosure agreement or you need assistance going to court because your trade secrets are at risk, Brown & Charbonneau, LLP is here to help you.
A Irvine trade secrets attorney at our firm will offer the comprehensive advice and assistance that you require to ensure you can maintain your competitive advantage by keeping your trade secrets safe. To learn more about how we can help, give us a call at (866)237-8129 or contact us online today.