Trade Secrets: 10 Things for Companies and Employees to Know

Posted by Benjamin I. Fink on

Below are 10 takeaways from the afternoon session of the American Intellectual Property Law Association (AIPLA) Trade Secret Summit in Boston:
1. Public companies need to consider reporting requirements when trade secrets are stolen.

2. Public companies need to consider whether potential theft of trade secrets is a material risk that must be disclosed.

3. All companies need to conduct due diligence on their vendors, if vendors will be connected in a way that could allow access to the company’s IT systems.

4. Trade secrets policies should be included in Employee Handbooks.

5. Employees need to be trained on the proper use and protection of company secrets.

6. It is not a trade secret unless you make a reasonable effort to keep it secret.

7. The first known non-compete agreement was litigated in the 1600’s.

8. When Michigan law changed in 1985 to allow greater enforcement of non-competes job mobility decreased significantly.

9. Greater enforcement of non-competes may result in “brain drain” to states with lesser enforcement or bans (e.g. California).

10. When you are looking to sell your company, a prospective buyer is going to conduct due diligence around the precautions you have taken to protect your confidential information and trade secrets.