If you hear the term “Trade Secrets” you may think that it is something only large companies have, but that would be incorrect. Any business that is growing, in any industry, probably relied on important informational pillars to help the business grow. As a business owner, what are you doing to protect the most valuable intellectual property your business has? Is it jealously guarded, or can anyone walk in and take a peek?
Trade secrets, without exaggeration, are the foundation of most growing businesses in America. This includes all forms of information, methods, and compilations such as:
- Customer lists
- Supplier lists
- Negotiated pricing terms or confidential rates
- Business, scientific, technical, economic, or engineering information used in the business
- Formula created by the business
- Pattern, plan, compilation
- Methods and techniques used by the business
- Procedures, financial data
- Information as to what does not work in your business
- Compilation of information, even if that compilation is based on public data.
This is not an exclusive list. Every successful business, if it grows to any type of significant level, probably had trade secrets it relied on to get there. The laws of most states that have adopted the Uniform Trade Secrets Act require the owner of the trade secret – the business – to prove it took reasonable steps to keep that information a secret and show how those trade secrets allowed the business to acquire independent economic value, and that others could not independently find out what the trade secrets were. Well, the trade secret owner must show others could not determine the trade secrets through legal means.
The Theft of Trade Secrets
If you do not protect something of value, it can be taken from you. The theft of trade secrets case arises when someone such as a former business partner, a trusted employee, or someone else who has agreed not to disclose your information has taken your trade secrets and may obtain an economic benefit from those trade secrets, for themselves, or they have passed it on to a competitor. Your competitors want to know how you built that better mousetrap, and the more unscrupulous of your competitors will use whatever means to take your information.
If your company is facing a theft of trade secrets issue, or simply needs to structure procedures to make sure that there is no question as to the limited disclosure and circulation of your business trade secrets, give us a call. Because at the Vethan Law Firm, P.C. Your Problem is Our Business®