If your company is thriving, then you probably possess certain trade secrets that have helped you build the successful enterprise you have. You might have access to a proprietary customer list, have a special recipe or have created a unique operational process that you want to keep out of your competitors’ hands.
You have certain responsibilities as someone who possesses intellectual property (IP) rights like the ones described above. One of those is to reasonably protect that proprietary information. If the issue is ever in question, how do you show that you did all the right things to protect your IP?
Demonstrating that you reasonably protected your trade secrets
There are a few measures that individuals with IP rights commonly take to protect their valuable assets, including:
- Having anyone who may come into contact with the proprietary information sign a non-disclosure agreement
- Ensure that only a limited amount of individuals have access to the trade secret
- Keeping any trade secrets off-premises, or at the very least, on a password-protected computer where the information is also encrypted
It’s also best that you regularly perform safety audits to ensure the integrity of your protection standards and storage protocol.
Factors that may determine whether infringement occurred
If you allege that someone misappropriated or infringed upon your IP rights, then you can expect to need to prove:
- You clearly identified the IP rights that you’re trying to protect in a non-disclosure or confidentiality agreement
- You’ve limited who can gain access to the proprietary information and under what circumstances
- That your IP was inappropriately accessed or used without your consent
If you’ve taken all the appropriate steps to protect your trade secrets and there appears to have been a misappropriation of them, then you owe it to yourself to learn more about your rights to hold someone liable for the infringement.