Simple Steps To Keep Colorado Trade Secrets Safe
Many business owners do not give a lot of thought to intellectual property, particularly if the business does not hold any patents. However, most businesses have trade secrets that need to be protected. In a time of increasingly frequent employee turnover, global competition and digital information, it is easier than ever for businesses’ proprietary information to be exposed. Colorado business owners should understand the kind of information that they can protect as trade secrets and how they can keep that information safe.
What are trade secrets?
Information that counts as a trade secret varies from industry to industry. The Uniform Trade Secrets Act defines a trade secret as information “that derives independent economic value, actual or potential, from not being generally known to or readily ascertainable through appropriate means by other persons who might obtain economic value from its disclosure or use.” The information may be a formula, customer list, pattern, method technique, device, process or even information about planned mergers and acquisitions. The UTSA notes that in order for a trade secret to be protected by law, the holder of the information needs to show that the business took steps to keep the information secret.
Protecting trade secrets
In order to reduce the likelihood of having trade secrets revealed, business owners can take some steps to protect their intellectual property, including:
- Making a comprehensive list of the business’ trade secrets
- Classifying information appropriately
- Regularly monitoring the information classified as trade secrets and updating the list
- Disclosing information to fewer employees
- Getting signed agreements from employees to keep trade secrets safe in the event of termination of employment
- Educating employees about the importance of keeping trade secrets confidential
- Conducting exit interviews with departing employees reminding them of their obligation not to disclose the company’s trade secrets
- Monitoring competitors to see if they produce products or adopt procedures similar to those of the business
- Monitoring computer networks for potential security leaks
Speak with an attorney
One of the most effective ways for businesses to protect their trade secrets is to understand the law around trade secrets. A skilled trade secrets attorney can assist business owners in identifying trade secrets and advise them how to adopt procedures to keep those secrets safe. If you have questions about trade secrets, talk to a trade secrets lawyer who can address your business’ specific needs.