Trade secrets are an important component of a business that requires protection. Generally, trade secrets include information that has economic value and is not publicly known. It is important to take reasonable steps to keep trade secrets from being revealed and to keep them secret. Trade secrets that a business owner may wish to protect can include formulas, methods, programs, techniques, processes, customer lists, customer requirements, product specifications, pricing strategies and recipes.
It is important to take reasonable efforts to maintain the secrecy of trade secrets. Recommended actions to maintain confidentiality of trade secrets include: keeping all materials in a secure place, marking documents as confidential, limiting sensitive information access to employees that need to know only, and having employees with access to sensitive information sign non-disclosure agreements.
Trade secrets can be misappropriated when they have been disclosed through improper means, such as theft. Additional methods of misappropriation can include bribery, misrepresentation, breach of duty to maintain secrecy, and electronic or other forms of espionage.
Misappropriation of trade secrets may be prevented through an injunction or restraining order. Monetary damages may also be awarded in certain circumstances.
Maintaining the secrecy and security of trade secrets can be an important component of a thriving business. As a result, it is important for business owners to understand how to maintain their trade secrets and what to do to take swift legal action if the confidentiality of their trade secrets in threatened or compromised.