Keeping trade secrets safe is hard. Even with non-disclosure agreements and things of this nature, companies worry about their secrets getting out. In the world of the internet, once something escapes, it is hard or impossible to put a lid on it again.
Many companies have invested a lot of energy into combating hackers that have attempted to steal their intellectual property (IP) in recent years. While cyber crime can be blamed for some of this information becoming public, it's not the primary reason why trade secrets have been exposed. Data compiled by the World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO) shows that 85% of all state and federal IP cases can be attributed to employee misappropriation. Any company that maintains valuable IP rights such as trade secrets is required to take reasonable steps to protect its confidentiality.
Trade secrets -- the information that your company owns and jealously protects from its competitors -- have a lot of value. If you're a business owner today, you'd be very remiss not to take steps to protect your trade secrets. In fact, failing to do so means that you could lose the right to call some of that information a "trade secret" at all.
Another company steals your trade secrets. Maybe it's a domestic company or an international company that has trade relations with the United States. Either way, they use your trade secrets for their own gain. What can the court do to help you?
A non-disclosure agreement, or an NDA, is used to protect company secrets. It essentially says that the employee will have access to these secrets as a necessary part of their job, but they cannot legally let this information get to a third party. Doing so could harm the company, which may then take legal action against the employee to seek compensation.
If you're thinking about how to protect your trade secrets, you may be thinking about a rare situation where an employee decides to sell out your secrets for a personal payday. You want to make sure it doesn't happen, even though you think it's uncommon and even unlikely.
For food producers, the recipe for a certain food is often the most valuable thing that they own. Anyone can make a similar food, but no one can make that same exact dish. It's that unique blend that allows the company to thrive.
People often ignore security measures when it comes to digital messages and assets. They know that things like firewalls and anti-virus software packages can help in theory, but they assume they don't really need them. They're hesitant to pay for anything and may only use free services or nothing at all.
You're worried about your employees leaking trade secrets. You think it may happen via email. You understand just how fast information can change hands in 2019.
You know that your main reason for success is the fundamental idea behind your products, a proprietary design that only your company uses. People have to come to you when this is exactly what they want, and that makes it very valuable indeed.