“Reasonable Measures” To Protect Trade Secrets
March 12, 2020
It is common knowledge that the law requires the owner of a trade secret to take reasonable steps to protect it, and failing to do so may make a court find that the secret can be misappropriated with impunity, because it is not protected. It is less clear what constitutes “reasonable measures.” According to an article in IP Watchdog, the protection doesn’t have to be fool proof, but the more steps a party undertakes to protect its trade secrets, the more likely that a court will find those steps are reasonable and sufficient. The article cites a court decision that listed a plaintiff’s shortcoming in respect to protection, which reads like a to-do list for keeping trade secrets safe. It included a lack of non-disclosure and confidentiality agreements, plus failure to: train employees about their obligation to keep certain information confidential; ask departing employees whether they possessed any confidential information and instruct them to return or delete it; restrict access to sensitive company information to employees on a need-to-know basis; differentiate access to sensitive information from access to non-sensitive information.
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