Trade secrets can provide key competitive advantages and thus form an important part of a business’ intellectual property strategy. While a well-protected trade secret can significantly enhance an organization’s profitability and overall valuation, they present unique challenges in monetization and protection because, unlike patents, trade secrets are an invisible component of your IP. In general, a trade secret is any identifiable information that: (a) has economic value as a result of not being generally known and not being readily ascertainable by others would could obtain economic value from the information if disclosed; and (b) is subject to reasonable efforts to maintain its secrecy.
Since trade secrets can have a significant impact on your company’s value, it’s important to have systems and procedures for managing and protecting them. DRM’s attorneys can help you create a system to identify your trade secrets, draft procedures for maintaining them as secret, and provide you the necessary agreements to legally obligate employees and third parties who have access to your secrets to keep them secret. DRM can help you leverage your trade secrets along with other IP, including through properly drafted license agreements. DRM’s attorneys can also help you devise an action plan in case someone steals your trade secrets.
DRM’s attorneys help clients secure, monetize, and protect your trade secret, even when you plan to share it.
If you have a formula, practice, process, design, instrument, pattern, commercial method or compilation of information that is critical to your business, DRM will help you determine if protecting it as a trade secret or with another form of IP protection makes the most sense to achieve your goals. In order for your trade secret to have value, you have to appropriately protect that secret – necessitating carefully crafted policies and agreements covering employees, consultants, supply-chain partners or other entities with which you may need to share trade secrets in the course of conducting your business. DRM’s attorneys will help you prevent the improper sharing and use of trade secrets though a variety of techniques, including: drafting and executing agreements to protect your interests, seeking injunctive relief, negotiating settlements or through full litigation.
DRM trade secret attorneys are all about business – your business.
We believe a company should be concerned with protecting its intellectual property primarily to help achieve its business objectives. When well applied, intellectual property protections and strategies, including trade secrets, can dramatically enhance the value of your business. In addition to having decades of experience, DRM’s attorneys are results-oriented and follow a cost-effective, holistic approach to IP protection. As part of the process, our IP attorneys familiarize themselves with your business to identify which of your assets should be patented and which should be kept as trade secrets, ensuring the intrinsic value of the company is properly protected. When disputes arise, our team is adept at negotiating settlements and resolving issues amicably, often avoiding the need to spend precious resources on legal fees to litigate or defend litigation. Here are the ways in which DRM’s attorneys can assist you to protect, monetize and capitalize on your trade secrets:
- Develop an intellectual property strategy: At the heart of any good intellectual property portfolio is a strategy that helps you achieve your business objectives. DRM’s attorneys can help identify and assess a company’s intellectual property, develop and implement procedures to facilitate the ongoing identification of IP, determine what should be protected as a trade secret and what should be protected by some other form of IP – such as patents, copyrights, or trademark – and develop and implement procedures for making that happen.
- Establish systems for protecting trade secrets: With their extensive experience managing broad spectrums of IP portfolios, DRM’s attorneys have established systems to accommodate a variety protection needs. To help you achieve an appropriate level of ongoing protection, our team will review your company’s existing security systems and procedures. Once their assessment is complete, they can recommend and implement new systems and procedures as needed, including putting in place adequate non-disclosure agreements for employees and third parties.
- Intellectual property documents: A particularly important aspect of trade secret protection is internal documentation and the demonstration of reasonable efforts under the circumstances to keep trade secrets secret. To demonstrate your efforts, you’ll want to be certain you have all the right procedures and documents in place. DRM’s attorneys will draft the appropriate non-disclosure agreements to ensure anyone with access to your trade secrets are legally obligated to maintain them as secret and not share them with other organizations.
- Intellectual property transactions: In the course of doing business, you may need to find ways to leverage your trade secrets – or legally obtain access to another company’s information. DRM’s IP attorneys regularly collaborate with our corporate attorneys to draft license, technology transfer and other agreements that will advance your position in these types of transactions.
- Intellectual property litigation: Despite all the best efforts, at some point in time, you may find yourself in the midst of a trade secret dispute – with an employee, a competitor, a vendor, or a supply chain partner. If that happens, litigating to resolve trade secret misappropriation or to defend against allegations of trade secret theft, including working quickly to obtain injunctive relief and obtaining damages for injuries, may be the only appropriate course of action. In this case, we’ll bring to bear our significant litigation skills and depth, quickly assembling an experienced team to ensure your trade secret(s) remain intact.
- Regularly assist companies developing NDAs, independent consultant agreement, and employee invention assignment/confidentiality agreements.
- Represented a start-up company charged with misappropriating trade secrets from its prior employer. Assisted the client in reaching a settlement that was mutually satisfactory.