Has Someone Taken Your Business Trade Secret or Confidential Information?

Many businesses have proprietary secrets that give them a competitive advantage, ranging from secret recipes, client lists and formulas to innovative know-how, algorithms and marketing strategies. Such a trade secret is a type of intellectual property protected by both federal and Colorado state law.

The whole point of a trade secret is that it’s secret—so when someone shares those secrets with competitors, the trade secret holder could lose out on business profits and other consequences. When you believe someone has stolen your company’s confidential information, make sure to call a trade secret or intellectual property and business litigation attorney.

What is a trade secret?

As noted above, trade secrets are a type of intellectual property, which is protected by law. As long as a company protects their trade secrets so that they cannot be discovered absent wrongdoing, they should be entitled to pursue compensation for their losses. Unlike other forms of intellectual property, trade secrets do not have to be registered to be protected.

If the trade secret is ever revealed to the public, it’s no longer protected. Thus, if your company has a secret biscuit recipe which gives you a competitive advantage, it behooves you to keep that recipe under lock and key. You wouldn’t include the recipe in your email newsletter, for example, unless you wanted the trade secret protection to end.

How to protect your trade secrets

Even small businesses should consider working with intellectual property and business litigators from the outset. If you have an inkling that you may have trade secrets to protect, an attorney can help you set up appropriate protections. For example, your lawyer may be able to help you draft an enforceable non-disclosure agreement (NDA), which prevents employees from disclosing the secrets to others.

Even if someone learns about the trade secret by accident or theft, the trade secret rights holder has the legal ability to prevent them from disseminating that information. The only exception is when a person discovers the information independently, without resorting to illegal means such as theft or espionage.

That means that your biscuit recipe might be a trade secret, but home chefs are welcome to reverse engineer the recipe. Whether they discover your exact recipe or a close approximation, they’re not violating trade secret laws. That’s why you can find many copycat recipes for major restaurants online.

Consult a trade secrets attorney for assistance

If you are concerned about protecting your company’s trade secrets, it’s wise to work with intellectual property and business litigation attorneys. Experienced litigators will know the best way to protect your trade secrets, including NDAs and best practices. They can also help if you suspect someone has acquired your trade secrets by illegal means.

Don’t leave your competitive business advantage up to chance. Working with a seasoned legal team like Thomas P. Howard, LLC will ensure that your trade secrets remain a secret—and if someone tries to acquire them illegally, you can take swift action. Reach out to our firm today for a consultation.