Trade Secrets vs. Other Types of Intellectual Property
There are generally four types of intellectual property: patents, trademarks, copyrights, and trade secrets. While most other intellectual property is protected by governmental registration, trade secrets are not. However, trade secrets must be well-kept. This means only those who have a need to know a trade secret should. The secrets must also have commercial value and there must be procedures or agreements in keeping the secrets confidential.
Protecting trade secrets can be tedious, but can protect your most valuable assets. One of the best ways to keep your secrets safe is to create confidentiality agreements and policies. Written procedures make it easier to prove your secrets merit legal protection. Creating teams that conduct surveillance, assess risk, and manage access can also add an extra layer of protection. If your company’s trade secrets fall into the wrong hands, even with proper policies and security, your only recourse may be to sue.
If one of your company’s trade secrets has been compromised, you may have a claim. However, before proceeding to litigation, you should seek counsel to determine if the trade secret qualifies for protection. You will also need to prove that your company took the precautions necessary to keep the secret safe, and that the secret was wrongfully acquired or utilized. A trade secret that is discovered through reverse engineering, independent discovery, or is compromised due to a failure on the company’s part may not merit legal protection.
Consulting an attorney is the best way to find out if your company has a claim. Aiken Schenk has a team of dedicated attorneys ready to help you with your commercial litigation needs. Joe Schenk, Shawn Aiken, Al Ricciardi, Heather Macre, and Austin Kurtz are here when you need help.
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