Four Tips to Protect Your Trade Secrets
Under United States law, the importance and value of commercial trade secrets are recognized. In fact, under the Defend Trade Secrets Act (DTSA) — a bill that was signed into law in 2016 — trade secrets are even entitled to federal protections. Of course, by definition, trade secrets only retain their full value if the underlying information is not widely known. Here, our commercial litigation team offers four tips to help South Florida companies protect sensitive trade secrets.
- Know What Needs to Be Protected
First and foremost, businesses need to know what they have to protect. Effectively preserving and protecting confidential business information requires a careful identification of anything that could reasonably be considered a trade secret. It should be noted that the definition of a ‘trade secret’ is fairly expansive — indeed, it is far more broad than many people realize. For example, trade secrets could potentially include devices, formulas, methods, techniques, the use of certain patterns, and other commercial processes.
- Use Written Agreements With Employees and Contractors
If your company has especially valuable trade secrets, it is generally recommended that you include confidentiality provisions in employment agreements and in any relevant commercial contracts with outside businesses. Codifying the protection of a trade secret in a well-drafted and legally enforceable agreement will make it far easier to take action in the event that your company’s trade secrets are violated. Without properly drafted agreements, it is far more challenging for companies to protect their trade secrets.
- Limit Unnecessary Access to Trade Secrets
One of the best strategies Florida businesses can use to reduce the risk of trade secret misappropriation is to take proactive measures to limit any unnecessary access to confidential information. Do all employees actually need to know every trade secret your company has in order to effectively perform their jobs? Probably not. Companies should take proactive measures to ensure that confidential information is accessed by the fewest amount of people possible — especially people who have not signed an enforceable confidentiality agreement.
- Take Immediate Action When Violations Occur
Finally, trade secret misappropriation requires immediate action. From a purely practical perspective, quick action will help to ensure that your company’s confidential business information is not widely disseminated. Should you wait too long to take action, that trade secret may not be so ‘secret’ for very long. In addition, there are also legal reasons to take action to stop violations. The longer you wait to bring a legal claim, the more challenging it will be to prevail in a trade secret misappropriation case.
Speak to Our West Palm Beach Commercial Litigation Lawyers Today
At Pike & Lustig, LLP, our experienced Florida commercial litigation attorneys have extensive experience handling all types of trade secret misappropriation claims. We draft, review, negotiate, and litigate employment agreements and business contracts that contain trade secret protections. To set up a strictly confidential review of your case, please contact us today. We have a law office in West Palm Beach and a second office in Miami.