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It’s a common knowledge - if you want to make a company bankrupt, then provide competitors with information about it.

Especially this is true when a company is entering new markets, as well as when forming a franchise network both at the national and international levels. To ensure your valuable information is protected properly, businesses need to create a trade secret and protect it as the biggest treasure. Otherwise, the high competitiveness and overall viability of the business can be forgotten.

Rights to Keep a Secret 

Trade secrets are protected internationally according to Article 10 of the Convention for the Protection of Industrial Property (Paris Convention). Its member states are required to take all measures to effectively protect against unfair competition.

However, the regulation on the protection of trade secrets varies depending on the internal legislation of each state.  

One of the advantages of protecting trade secret rights is the indefinite duration of such protection. That is, it will be protected until confidential information is not known to the public or legally acquired by a third party. Another advantage is safe and competitive access to the international level, which ultimately can lead to international recognition.

How Can Trade Secrets be Transferred or Sold?

 The trade secret owner may transfer confidential information rights to a third party, may give rights to access and use the trade secret in order to establish a franchise network.

Due to the nature of the confidentiality of information, permission to access this information jeopardizes its protection as a trade secret. For this reason, all reasonable measures must be taken to counter the further spread of trade secrets outside the licensed entity. The safest way is to sign a confidentiality agreement between the owner of the trade secret and a licensee.

As a rule, trade secrets are formed by their owners on a voluntary basis, but in some cases this step is absolutely necessary to protect your business. In particular, this applies to cases where the subject of confidentiality is not subject to patenting.

Say no to Trade Secret Violation

Competitiveness is one of the engines of economic development and further innovation. For this reason, the legislative framework, including the law on trade secrets, should encourage an honest competitive environment in which the market will develop. 

Unauthorized acquisition, use or distribution of information which is defined as confidential is considered a violation of trade secret rights.

Infowatch, in its report on global corporate information leakage, reported that 37% of disclosures were intentional. And again, returning to the “trouble of the information era”, more than 42% of leaks were carried out by disclosing data backups via E-mail, Internet and portable devices.

On this basis, data such as financial information, source codes, formulas and recipes, any information of commercial value, should be protected as trade secrets.

Business owners should prepare confidentiality agreements for contractors and company employees to keep information confidential.

Important!

If you need help to draw up a confidentiality agreement with your partners, please contact IQ Decision UK experienced lawyers.

After the company determines the list of information constituting a trade secret, it must ensure the secrecy of such information, because valuable information cannot be a trade secret if it is not confidential.

Therefore, the company must be applied to tangible media containing commercial secrets, or include in the details of documents the ‘Classified’ sign with indication of the owner of such information. Also, you can put the following text on the document: “This document as a whole and any part thereof individually contains trade secrets, which are confidential information and cannot be used and / or disclosed by any person without the prior written consent of the owner of the trade secret.”

It is also necessary to ensure that employees admitted to trade secrets are familiarized with the list of classified information, with the established confidentiality regime and liability for its violation. Familiarization of each such employee should be done by signing non-disclosure agreements.

Non-disclosure agreements must also be signed with all contractors who become aware of information constituting a trade secret.

Technical means of information security

The types of information and methods for its storage are in a continuous process of change. If earlier the communication process from transmission to receipt could take months, today it takes seconds.

Despite this, do not forget about the technical means of protecting information. Technical measures to protect information involve the use of special programs and equipment that prohibit viewing and / or copying of important electronic information. To do this, block access to the hard drive or the ability to use removable digital media.

Such measures impose additional duties on the system administrator: an employee of the company addresses him if access to classified information is necessary. Thus, in the event of “leakage” of any information, the system administrator or other authorized employee will easily determine the circle of potential violators.

Findings

Companies should work non-stop to protect confidential information, since the importance of this aspect is undeniable and allows the company to maintain its place and market share in goods, works and services, as well as to avoid unforeseen expenses. Not only the success of a business, but also the security of the enterprise, as well as its financial resources, depend on how reliable a trade secret is reliably protected.

Protecting trade secrets will allow you to expand business and production outside of one entity, creating a secure franchise network. It will not only guarantee the sound sleep of business managers and owners, but will also become a significant help in the case of a judicial review of the case, since the security of commercial secrets is not checked in accordance with the special preliminary procedure, but only when the rights to trade secrets have been violated, and it is necessary to establish whether they existed at all.

It is also worth saying that it is really important to study the legal aspect to choose a jurisdiction with strict and reliable regulation of IP rights.

If you have any questions about how to protect intellectual property rights, IQ Decision UK specialists provide comprehensive assistance in creating a trade secret, as well as assistance in registering any types of intellectual property. To find out more detailed information on the best options for you, order an individual consultation on the protection of IP rights.