If you are developing an innovation in your company, in the form of a “formula, pattern, compilation, program, device, method, technique or process” (per the United States Patent and Trademark Office – USPTO) that will be essential to set you apart from the competition, then you may be working on a “trade secret.” Trade secrets are protected, but only in a limited manner. To fully understand your rights, speak with someone who is familiar with patent law in Orlando. Therefore, it is important that you understand all of the appropriate steps that you should take in order to keep your trade secret protected from the competition. Take a look at some of the main ways you can keep this information under wraps.
Non-Disclosure Agreements Are Essential
If you have employees, contractors, consultants, or partners who are involved in your process, then there are a lot of people who understand your trade secret. Each person who knows this is, potentially, an additional opportunity for this information to be leaked. To protect from leaks, it is important that you develop a clear non-disclosure agreement for everyone involved in the project.
A non-disclosure agreement is a useful tool for a company, but is also very helpful for everyone else involved in the project, since it clarifies exactly what they can or can not disclose outside of work. Find a patent attorney in Orlando who will help you create a rock-solid NDA before you implement it.
IT Security is Very Important
IT security is important to help against potential hacks, but there are many other ways it helps your trade secrets stay secret, too. For starters, a good IT team can create policies and processes that ensure that all individuals involved in your project will not accidentally release sensitive information.
Plans and Procedures Stop Leaks
When you are working with a variety of teams and contributors, it is important that each understands the required procedures when handling internal information. This includes ongoing audits of all third-party contractors such as manufacturers who are involved in your development, and making sure that there are no potential leaks in the system. When people have a plan of best practices to reference, they will be able to protect your secrets without confusion.
Train Your Teams
It may sound obvious, but in many cases, this step is overlooked. When you are bringing in a variety of teams and contributors to your project, it is important that you do not simply issue a non-disclosure agreement and assume that you have done your part. Instead, train all of the people involved in your project on how to handle sensitive information, the best practices for communication, and anything else that your team has identified as essential to keeping your trade secrets under wraps.
Continuously Audit your Trade Secret Best Practices
As the scope of your project changes, or the stages of your development advance, the landscape will continuously change as well. This means that communication procedures, involved parties, and many other things will be different as your project moves forward, and your NDA or procedures may no longer be sufficient to protect your information.
As such, it is extremely important that you are constantly auditing your best practices to ensure that you have addressed any possible issues at every stage of your project. Without constant vigilance, you may be failing to protect some of the most important parts of your success.