The world is moving faster than ever and it has become increasingly difficult to keep business secrets, regardless of the continued importance of keeping major pieces of your intellectual property (IP), like trade secrets, secret. So how do you accomplish this?
Creating an Agreement with Employees
Sometimes companies have employees sign an agreement promising not to reveal trade secrets. These are usually made as clauses in the initial employment contract as legal protection. And while they aren't perfect in a world where employees could still inadvertently blab a trade secret while traveling, it creates a basic awareness of the legality.
The World Intellectual Property Organization also mentions the non-compete clause as another option in employees keeping secrets. These agreements are made in advance to protect the company if the employee leaves for another career. In the agreement, the employee agrees to not start a similar business or use any of the information they know to compete with you.
While these agreements give a company the right to sue an employee if they reveal your trade secrets, helping to foster a loyal environment is going to be even greater protection. Also, limiting access to what they can see will make a considerable difference.
Nurturing Loyalty and Limiting Access
Part of your business plan should be to make customers stay loyal to you and show respect toward keeping trade secrets secure. By rewarding your employees monetarily and creating a product that everyone can get behind, you promote a loyalty that makes employees more responsible.
At the same time, not making your trade secrets overly open to read by employees will help prevent them from memorizing every detail. This can be done by limiting who accesses the trade secrets in a database and only at times when it's absolutely necessary.
Keeping track of what others in your company do and where employees may leak secrets can be nearly impossible, and in some cases, it can be the result of competitor spies eavesdropping on conversations at trade shows or managing to gather information on the phone from your employees. Because of these unknown factors, it is important not to rely solely on the two intellectual property protection strategies above. No one will protect your IP like you will, and the time to start is today!
Make Traklight a part of your IP strategy for a more thorough overview of the intellectual property you have, and what needs to be protected.