hexagons transparent w r - Patterson Intellectual Property Law

Trade Secrets

Develop, Protect, Enforce, & Expand

U.S. businesses lose an estimated $300 billion every year to intellectual property theft, including trade secret breaches. However, many companies don’t know what trade secrets are, much less that they own them or how much they are worth. Businesses who do not identify their trade secrets early may not be adequately protecting them from misuse.

Trade secrets can include many forms of confidential and proprietary information, including:

Passwords

Customer Lists

RFPs

Budgeting Spreadsheets

Proprietary Manufacturing Methods

Gained Strategic Knowledge

Patterson can help you identify your trade secrets, evaluate their economic importance to your business, and design a comprehensive and responsive protection plan to secure your most critical assets.

Our trade secret protection services include:

  • Identifying trade secrets
  • Auditing breach risks
  • Reviewing internal communication policies
  • Auditing external disclosures
  • Drafting restrictive covenants and nondisclosure agreements
  • Managing trade secret portfolios
  • Counseling for social media policies
  • Ensuring compliance with regulatory requirements
  • Advising on best practices
  • Assisting with privacy and data security practices
  • Improving data breach disclosure policies
  • Ensuring compliance with regulatory requirementsIdentifying trade secrets
  • Auditing breach risks
  • Reviewing internal communication policies
  • Auditing external disclosures
  • Drafting restrictive covenants and nondisclosure agreements
  • Managing trade secret portfolios
  • Counseling for social media policies
  • Advising on best practices
  • Assisting with privacy and data security practices
  • Improving data breach disclosure policies

Trade secrets are formulas, processes, devices, or other proprietary business information that give businesses a competitive advantage over their adversaries. Unlike patents, trademarks, and copyrights, trade secrets are not protectable via registration. Instead, trade secrets are protected by keeping them secret, like their name suggests.

Businesses can protect trade secrets through information security and contractual limitations. Much like “top secret, “classified,” and “confidential” government material, trade secrets are best protected through physical and digital security measures. This includes strategies such as limiting access to the protected information on a need-to-know basis, as well as, limiting the use of the trade secrets for authorized purposes via restrictive covenants and nondisclosure agreements.

Despite the lack of a federal registration system, trade secrets are common among all businesses. Customer lists, survey results, and manufacturing methodology can qualify as trade secrets if sufficiently protected. Additionally, misappropriation of trade secrets is an enforceable claim in state and federal courts.