Preventing Trade Secrets Misappropriation and Minimizing Enforcement Costs
Created on October 24, 2019
Trade secrets are often the most valuable form of intellectual property for a business, even more valuable than patents. Various factors contribute to the growing importance of trade secrets, including (1) ongoing changes to the patent laws especially around patent eligibility; (2) the implementation of the Defend Trade Secrets Act (DTSA), which provided a federal remedy for trade secret misappropriation for the first time; and (3) increasing employee mobility, among others. Most companies rely on NDAs, other confidentiality measures, and ultimately litigation to protect trade secrets will ensue. However, studies show that 60-70% of companies, even multinational companies, are not taking appropriate preventive measures to protect their trade secrets.
The most common threat to trade secrets are from insiders - i.e., employees and former employees, as well as other business partners (not hackers and nation states). Loss from these sources can be both inadvertent and deliberate. Even when companies do a good job protecting trade secrets internally, protections frequently break down once trade secrets are shared, as they need to be in the supply chain and in joint ventures. Unfortunately, investigation and enforcement costs are very high in the event of loss, and once misappropriated, trade secrets may not be recoverable, for example if included as part of a patent application by the party taking the trade secret.
This program will guide attorneys through best practices for protecting trade secrets as part of a company's intellectual property strategy.
- Discuss common ways that trade secrets can be lost, especially in a supply chain and with joint venture partners
- Identify the elements of a comprehensive trade secret management program
- Assess what kind of trade secret management program is right for your client
- Foster compliance by implementing a comprehensive program
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