Dale M. Maas, Attorney at Law
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How do I protect the trade secrets of my business?

Many companies have trade secrets that are valuable and that they wish to protect. Information may be considered to be a trade secret if it was created by a company in order for it to conduct its business. Trade secrets can refer to customer lists, supplier lists, formulas pricing and margins and other methods of operation for the business. The information is valuable as long as it remains secret, so it is important to understand how to protect your trade secrets.

In general, the definition for trade secrets is broad and can include business or technical information that you make reasonable efforts in the situation to protect. Trade secrets should be marked confidential, and reasonable steps should be taken to protect their secrecy. If the trade secrets are on paper, they should be kept in a locked file cabinet. If the trade secrets are stored electronically, access to them should be limited. It is also necessary to educate staff concerning trade secrets, and it may be advisable to have them sign a non-disclosure agreement to protect information such as customer lists and other information.

On that note, it is important to understand the legal protections that may be available in Louisiana for the protection of trade secrets from disclosure. It is helpful to be familiar with the civil legal remedies for violations of trade secrets laws including injunctive relief, which requires a party, generally, to stop some activity or monetary damages, depending on the circumstances. It is also important to promptly take action against the disclosure of your trade secrets. This is to further establish it is information you wish to keep secret and to demonstrate that you are taking steps to protect it.

Running a business can be challenging but rewarding. The legal process provides helpful resources to help protect trade secrets and to address the concerns business owners face.

Source: U.S. Small Business Administration, "5 Steps for Protecting Your Trade Secrets," accessed on Dec. 11, 2016

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Dale M. Maas, Attorney at Law
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