2 Tips To Help You Protect Your Company's Trade Secrets

If you recently developed a new product or procedure that is helping your company make a lot of money, you may need to take steps to prevent your employees from stealing these new ideas. Here are two steps you should consider taking.

Limit what you tell

The first thing you should consider doing is limiting what the employees know about the new product, procedure, or idea. The less they know, the better. You can do this by revealing only the necessary details about the product or idea, and limiting the duties of each employee. If each employee only sees part of the process, they may not have enough information to steal your idea.

The downside to this step is that the secrets can still leak. This can happen when employees accidentally find out more details than they originally knew, or it can occur when employees talk to each other about work-related things.

Create a non-disclosure agreement

A non-disclosure agreement (NDA) is often referred to as a confidentiality agreement. This particular agreement is something a business lawyer can help you create, and its ultimate purpose is to stop your secrets from getting out. A typical NDA will include the following details:

  • Purpose – The agreement you create should clearly outline the purpose of it, which is to protect trade secrets within your company. It does not have to state each of the trade secrets, but it should state that there are secrets within the company that must stay secret.
  • Time-frame – Most NDAs also have time-frames on them. You could write that the agreement will stay in effect for as long as the employee works at the company, or you could include an indefinite time-frame on it.
  • Actions if agreement is breached – You should also clearly include details about what could happen if an employee breaches this agreement. In other words, if an employee reveals one of your company's secrets, make sure he or she knows that your company may sue him or her.
  • Signature – You should also make sure there is a place on the document for the employee's signature.

An NDA may not stop all trade secrets from getting out, but it can prevent most of them.

If you would like to learn about other ways to protect your company's secrets, talk to a business lawyer like Caldwell Kennedy & Porter. They may be able to recommend other tips and strategies for protecting business trade secrets.