An authoritative South Florida legal source addressing the needs and concerns of area businesses duly stresses a proven commercial law firm’s central role in helping clients “best address legal issues and minimize future litigation.”
That role can be widely encompassing, because matters of concern for both smart startup entrepreneurs and established business principals are many and diverse. They span key subject matters like this:
- Business formation/entity choice
- Contract negotiation, drafting and enforcement
- Employee relations and interactions
- Real estate concerns (including purchases, sales and leases)
- Conflict resolution
- Intellectual property disputes
That last bullet point looms large for many company owners and top-tier decision makers. They often justifiably worry over the huge investment of time, labor and money they expend developing important proprietary data and processes. Protecting so-called trade secrets can be an especially compelling concern.
What exactly is a trade secret in the business world?
Although trade secrets might initially seem complex and a bit slippery, their thrust and parameters are well addressed in both federal and state statutory enactments and via a number of case law holdings.
Actually, much about trade secrets is simple and intuitive. A trade secret can be an internally developed and applied algorithm or software program. Trade secret designation also readily extends to company recipes (think Coca Cola or KFC), processes, special manufacturing techniques/methods, business plans and even customer and product pricing lists.
What must be done to safeguard a company’s valued trade secrets?
Protecting against third-party misappropriation and economic use of select intellectual property can mandate a number of proactive legal steps (e.g., registration and other requirements).
That is not true concerning trade secrets, which lack a registration mandate.
A notable preliminary point made by an in-depth overview of trade secrets conveys that protection “is broad and cheap.” Safely safeguarding trade secrets essentially comes down to a few proactive and commonsense steps. Input from an experienced business law legal team with proven acumen in intellectual property protection will help to ensure the following:
- Info/data sought to be safeguarded has commercial value and is not generally known by or accessible to the public
- Reasonable precautions are taken to maintain secrecy, which often include the below-bulleted strategies
- Systematic approach toward labeling sensitive material as confidential and selectively limiting its circulation
- Implementing and monitoring secure computer systems housing proprietary information
- Establishing a company training program and policies
- Execution of nondisclosure, noncompete and additionally relevant agreements with employees having access to company secrets
Trade secrets can be immensely important assets for a business enterprise. An experienced intellectual property attorney can help ensure their protection.