Most forms of intellectual property protection, such as copyrights, patents and trademarks, rely on publicly filing an application with the government in exchange for legal protection, but trade secrets—an often overlooked and underappreciated form of intellectual property—are protected by preventing disclosure to others.

A trade secret is any information that has actual or potential economic value from not being generally known and is the subject of reasonable efforts to keep secret.

Classic examples of trade secret information includes customer lists, secret formulas (aka, “the special sauce” or ingredient), manufacturing tricks or processes, and software source code—really anything that your business does or knows that it does not want its competitors to know.

Protecting Your Secrets

Wishful thinking is not enough to keep your secrets safe, and in today’s world of employee mobility, thumb drives, and business espionage, it is crucial to be proactive in order to keep your secrets secret. Renner Otto’s team can help you safeguard your valuable information and offers comprehensive trade secret services including:

  • Identifying information that should be protected by trade secrets and recommend alternative/additional avenues of protection such as copyrights or patents
  • Reviewing current methods of secrecy and security;
  • Instituting new measures to prevent misappropriation or disclosure;
  • Drafting confidentiality and nondisclosure agreements with employees and relevant third parties; and
  • Conducting training sessions to reinforce secrecy and protection of trade secrets.

When Your Secrets Get Out

Quick action is critical if your trade secrets get out. Sometimes, a forceful reminder of an employee’s (or former employee) confidentiality and non-disclosure obligations is enough, but many times a third-party (such as the former employee’s new company) must also be warned or, in some cases, an emergency filing with a court is needed to stop further misuse and disclosure of your secrets.

Our litigators are always at the ready to help you stop the dissemination of your trade secret information.