When operating a business in a competitive industry, whether it be in the tech world or the food industry, protecting trade secrets can be a determining factor for your company’s success. According to the US Patent and Trademark Office, “trade secrets consist of information and can include a formula, pattern, compilation, program, device, method, technique or process. To meet the most common definition of a trade secret, it must be used in business, and give an opportunity to obtain an economic advantage over competitors who do not know or use it.”
At Hardin Law Group, APC the importance of keeping your company’s trade secrets confidential is our top priority. In fact, James Hardin, our managing attorney, has written a legal guide on the subject (you can view an excerpt of his book here). HLG is experienced in devising strategies to avoid the potential threat of trade secret exposure to the public or a competitor. Some strategies include, but are not limited to:
- The first step is for a company to recognize what potential trade secrets they possess. It is crucial to figure out ahead of time what exactly it is that needs to be protected in order to achieve and maintain success over your competitors.
- Determine whether or not the trade secret can be kept confidential. In general, the likeliness of a trade secret being leaked to the public increases with the growth of a business. If this is the case, a patent (hyperlink to intellectual property litigation practice area page) may be the preferred route to take.
- Plan for the worst. Should your trade secrets be leaked, you need to have a plan in place to protect the company. The trade secret protection policy should be included as an introductory training packet for all new employees and require a signature in acknowledgement of confidentiality.
- Restrict Access. Employees often pose the biggest threat when it comes to protecting a company trade secret. In order to minimize the potential for damage it is best to limit the amount of employees that have access to the trade secrets of the company. The less people that know, the fewer economic threats your company will face.
In our digital age, the ability to conceal trade secrets from competitors has become increasingly difficult. Instead of protecting papers from getting into the wrong hands, it is now digital files that can easily be placed on a USB. It is important to protect your information and there are many strategies that can be used as preventative measures, however it is crucial to contact an attorney to secure the safety of your trade secrets.
Experienced Trade Secret Violation Legal Representation
With twenty years of experience, Attorney James Hardin is more than capable of keeping your company’s trade secrets safe from the clutches of competitors. He is the author of the book, “California Trade Secret Litigation, A Practice Guide” so his ability to represent clients not only stems from experience, but also his extensive and exceptional knowledge of the matter.
While prevention is imperative when it comes to protecting the confidentiality of trade secrets, it is not always a guarantee. When trade secrets are threatened do not wait to contact an attorney, there are protective measures that can be taken to mitigate the damages.
Some approaches include, but are not limited to:
- If it is believed that trade secrets have or are currently being leaked, an investigation to determine the information leaked as well as the party who leaked it is the first step to take.
- After the investigation is complete, it is important to estimate the damages incurred due to the loss of the confidentiality of the trade secret.
- Course of Action. Once damages have been assessed and proper evidence has been gathered, it is imperative to determine whether filing suit is your next best course of action. Filing a lawsuit against the leaker can potentially result in finanical compensation.
- Temporary Restraining Order (TRO). If the person or persons potentially responsible for leaking trade secrets is an employee of the company, immediate termination is often recommended. A temporary restraining order can be filed during the wait period until a court date as protection to the company to prevent the accused’s further access to trade secrets.
- Preliminary Injunction. A preliminary injunction is a court order that can be filed on behalf of the company to stop the undesired action from continuing until the final court date when the judgment is made.
Do not hesitate if your company faces potential threats to the confidentiality of trade secrets. To protect your business from potential monetary loss and other threats, contact Hardin Law Group, APC for a free case evaluation today.