Bay Area Business Lawyers | Primum Law

Protecting Your Trade Secrets

When you want to stay ahead of the competition, it’s important that you preserve the things that set you apart. Inside information, formulas, workflows, and other aspects of your company make you unique, and this gives you an advantage. But what happens when someone else copies your style or appropriates your intellectual property? This can lead to you losing your corner on the marketplace, losing business, and ultimately, losing the stability of your enterprise. One specialty in intellectual property (IP) law involves things called “trade secrets,” and it’s critical that you understand how to protect yours.

What is a trade secret? By definition: a secret device or technique used by a company in manufacturing its products. In practice: all of the aspects you use to create your goods and services. There are many different things that can be considered trade secrets, so make sure that you consult with a qualified intellectual property attorney in San Francisco before taking any other steps. Generally speaking, these things are covered by trade secret law:

  • Formulas
  • Designs
  • Practices
  • Processes
  • Patterns
  • Instruments
  • Commercial methods
  • Compilations of information

Unlike other aspects of IP, like trademarks, patents, and copyrights, trade secrets cannot be registered with the government. So, businesses must take special legal precautions to keep this information confidential. You can safeguard your proprietary processes with smart planning and preparation. Here are a few tips to get you started:

  1. Hire a qualified IP attorney

For most companies, large or small, hiring a business law firm is a solid investment. And when it comes to trade secrets, they can help you draft contracts and other documents to protect them, since there are no governmental bodies that will.

  1. Take inventory

Before you can protect anything, you will need to take stock of all of your trade secrets. Go through every inch of your operations, and identify all areas that could potentially be categorized as trade secrets. Refer to the above list for ideas.

  1. Use ironclad contracts

All of your company’s documents, especially those dealing with vendors and employees (anyone who might gain access to inside information), should have language about confidentiality. Enforce the signing of these documents whenever possible, to have legal leverage in the case of a breach.

Protecting your company’s trade secrets is critical to your long-term success. Want to learn more about IP law in San Francisco? Reach out to us at Primum Law today and ask for your free consultation.

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