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How can you protect trade secrets?

If you run a business, you know the importance of protecting your business's assets. One of those assets may be a trade secret. A trade secret is any specific recipe or way of doing things that sets your business apart and makes it profitable. For instance, if you pick up a can of Ragu at the supermarket, you'll notice that no one else has the recipe. That's because Ragu's recipe is a trade secret that is protected intensely.

Most states in the United States have adopted the Uniform Trade Secrets Act or a form of the act. This act helps recognize trade secrets and identifies what qualifies as a trade secret. Interestingly, businesses are still responsible for keeping the secrets as safe as possible.

How can you keep your business' trade secrets as protected as possible?

First, limit access to the secrets. If your business has a family recipe involved, it's possible that only those in upper management or those working to create the dish should know what's in it. Along with limiting access, it's a good idea to have your employees sign a contract that limits their ability to share the recipe. If someone sells or shares your trade secrets, it could severely impact your business, so you need to have a contract that gives you the right to pursue a claim against anyone who violates the company's trust.

Finally, close off your computer networks and limit access to them. By restricting access to your trade secrets, you can help them stay a secret now and for many years to come.

If someone does expose your trade secrets, you do have a means to hold him or her accountable. An experienced attorney can help you learn more about your legal options.

Source: FindLaw, "Protecting Trade Secrets," accessed Sep. 19, 2017

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