This morning, I attended the American Intellectual Property Law Association Trade Secrets Summit. It was held at my alma mater, Emory University School of Law. Below are some interesting highlights from the Summit:
- Matteo Valles from the FBI talked about internal and external threats to trade secrets. Among other things, he encouraged electronic behavior monitoring of employees to help detect abnormal employee behavior.
- When using subcontractors, he encouraged ensuring that the contractor has a trade secret protection program, retaining audit rights of the contractor and including financial consequences of loss of trade secrets.
- Trade secrets can be threatened by unintentional insiders, malicious insiders, foreign actors and unethical competitors, among others.
- An information security strategy should include measures to protect, detect and respond to any theft.
- People are the first and best line of defense in the protection of information.
- Key considerations in any trade secret protection program are confidentiality, availability and integrity of the data.
- Be sure to have a written incident response plan when trade secrets are taken. This plan can help assess the severity of the incident, determine if the investigation can be conducted internally or should involve external professionals, and establish the investigation team (HR, legal, privacy, etc.).