Failing to Treat Your Protectable Information Like a “Secret” May Preclude Trade Secret Protection

In the linked blog post below, Howard & Howard‘s Mike Braun explains a recent decision where a court denied an employer’s request for a preliminary injunction against the company’s former President and its IT manager who took flash drives with company information (containing the company’s vendors and suppliers list, sales data, pricing and cost information, and profit margins), then went to work for a competitor.

The Court found that the employer failed to take adequate steps to protect its supposed trade secrets and was therefore not entitled to protection under the law.  According to Braun, the case acts as “a virtual checklist of the steps a company should consider if it wants its important information to be treated as a trade secret.”

As this article suggests, if you want others to treat your information as a trade secret, you have to treat it like a trade secret, by:

  1. Using a confidentiality agreement;
  2. Clearly identify confidential information;
  3. Train your employees to treat the information as confidential;
  4. Restrict access to confidential information; and
  5. Address confidential information when employees terminate employment

When Is a Trade Secret Not a Trade Secret? When You Don’t Protect It Like One



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