How to protect your trade secrets from theft

Glenn W. Peterson

As California business owners know, protecting business assets is the same as protecting the core of the company. Assets can include everything from the product itself, to the things financially backing it. Trade secrets are one big piece of the pie.

FindLaw identifies trade secrets as something that sets a business apart from the rest. A trade secret gives a company its uniqueness or flair, and can range from the recipe for well-known foods to the particular method of crafting a car part used in a line of automobiles. Protecting trade secrets is vital to preserving that “uniqueness”, and certain steps can be taken to provide said protection.

After identifying what needs protection, a person can then properly label the related documents or files as being confidential. Areas where information is stored can be monitored, and both physical and virtual security can be provided. Care should be taken when working with everyone, including employees and vendors.

In fact, the United States Patent and Trademark Office singles out interactions with foreign countries as being particularly dangerous. They remind business owners that many other countries do not have to follow U.S. patent laws, which could potentially mean huge risks are being made every time information is passed between businesses doing work together across international borders.

Generally speaking, prevention is the best form of protection when it comes to handling a company’s trade secrets. Anyone who believes their trade secrets have been unlawfully taken may, however, be able to take the offender to court.