PROTECTING THE CROWN JEWELS: A GUIDE TO SAFEGUARDING TRADE SECRETS AND CONFIDENTIAL BUSINESS INFORMATION
Companies constantly search for new advantages over their competition. They dedicate significant financial and human capital resources to research and development of new or improved products and services, marketing and pricing strategies, and strategic business plans. However, these same companies often do not implement appropriate procedures to ensure that their employees do not take this valuable information with them when they leave to join a competitor or start their own competitive enterprise.
It is essential that businesses understand that, in order to enjoy judicial protection over confidential or trade secret information, they must be able to demonstrate that they took reasonable measures to ensure the secrecy of the information. The purpose of this article is to provide a practical approach for companies to take to protect this valuable information asset and to demonstrate that the business has taken reasonable steps to protect the company’s crown jewels.
Identify the ‘crown jewels’
The first step in protecting the crown jewels in your organisation is to identify to employees what the jewels are. You should effectively communicate a sufficient description and identification of the types of information that you want treated as confidential. Each employee should sign a nondisclosure/confidentiality agreement. These are valid in every US state – even in those that do not permit covenants not to compete (which are beyond the scope of this article).
Apr-Jun 2019 Issue