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The basics of protecting trade secrets

Arguably the most important step a new enterprise must take in being competitive is to protect the unique aspects of its products and services. After all, standing out from the competition is what makes small businesses special…and profitable. To do this, a business must steadfastly guard its secrets; its trade secrets.

This post will briefly describe what a trade secret is and offer some basic tips businesses can follow to  protect them.

Basically, trade secrets are generally regarded as confidential pieces of information that a business uses to gain (or maintain) a competitive advantage above their peers in a given industry. Trade secrets can be a number of things, including a training style or method or process for preparing products (like McDonald’s recipe cooking French fries), or a specialized online search method. The common denominator in these unique attributes is that if the secret is stolen and misappropriated, a damaged party may seek a legal remedy.

But even before seeking court intervention to stop a trade secret from being used by another party, the secret must be adequately protected. This is an important requirement that must be satisfied by doing the following:

Limiting access to secrets – The fewer people who know about them, the more likely a court will believe that the information is a secret.

Using passwords and other functions – In the same vein, using active protocols to limit access and guard against leaks can increase the likelihood of legal protection.

If you have questions about how to effectively protect a trade secret, an experienced business law attorney can help.

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