Companies spend significant time and monetary resources building up their valuable proprietary assets, such as client lists and operational processes. These are of considerable value to the company.
Most intellectual property (IP) holders wouldn’t want to do anything that would put those assets in jeopardy of getting in the hands of potential competitors.
Courts are increasingly requiring companies to show they took “reasonable steps” to protect IP
There are specific steps IP holders must take to show that they’re reasonably trying to protect their trade secrets if they take legal action against someone for stealing it You may wonder what constitutes “reasonable” in such an instance.
The IP rights that you intend to protect must be easily identifiable. For example, anyone you ask to sign an agreement not to disclose or protect your trade secret must be readily able to identify the proprietary information.
You’ll need to demonstrate that you provided someone who had access to that information with adequate handling instructions for it. Those instructions should have included details about who had access to the information and the circumstances under which they could access it.
It’s best if you have anyone with access to the IP sign confidentiality agreements. That documentation should detail steps that employees and anyone else with access to the trade secret should take to ensure the proprietary information doesn’t end up in the wrong hands. Any such agreement should also detail the implications associated with someone disclosing this information as well.
All IP holders must implement measures to safeguard their trade secrets. This may include storing it off-premises, under lock and key or on a secured or encrypted electronic device. In addition, IP holders must regularly assess the safety of those measures to ensure that they’re airtight as well.
Have you been doing enough to protect your IP rights?
Are you concerned that your trade secrets have been taken? If so, then you’ll want to learn more about whether you took the necessary steps to protect your rights and what you can do now that a potential violation of them occurred. In addition, you may want to continue reviewing the resources on our site to learn more about your rights and possible remedies available to you.