ANY Company Doing Business – should be minded to their Trade Secrets. Here is Why:
A 2020 report shows that trade secret litigation is on the rise, and litigation of trade secrets related to Business Relationships are increasing the fastest. It is now the largest share of trade secrets litigations.
There is a common misperception that IP in general and trade secrets in specific, are only relevant for technology intensive companies.
This perception is wrong.
Here is why:
It overlooks the most common Trade Secrets that ALL companies have - such as information related to Business Relationships, finance, and marketing.
Business Relationships trade secrets include customer information, vendor information, employee information, supplier information, subscriber information, client information, and reseller lists.
Every company that has customers – has trade secrets that are at risk. Including non-technology companies and small service provider firms.
To clarify the above, let us review the definition of a Trade Secret:
A trade secret is information - not generally known to the public, that provides economic benefit to its holder because of its secrecy and its secrecy is actively protected.
A less formal definition of trade secrets is information, e.g. of a database, practice, or process, that if provided to a competitor, would put its owner at a competitive disadvantage.
Consider a couple of hypothetical examples:
- a pet store employee that was let go, took the customer database, including past purchases, and pricing. Soon thereafter, the pet storeowner finds out that its closest competitor, is actively solicitating its steady cliental with personalized product offering.
- a small company, is planning to introduce a new product offering, finds out that a competitor has just started promoting a similar product. It later learns that the competitor got wind of its business plans from a 3rd party both do business with.
Takeaway – all business owners, regardless of business size or sector, need to be aware of their trade secret and of trade secret risks.
With minimal care, these risks can be Curtailed.