Trade secret - what it is and how to follow it

What is the essence of the issue

Everything in the world is based on competition. Methods which, of course, can be very diverse and not always honest. It is with the aim of protecting the manufacturer, developer, author of the idea, concept, and other things as much as possible that such a thing as a trade secret is being introduced. What is included in it? Technologies,trade secretdevelopment, patents, and sometimes the economic relationship of the enterprise with others. It is noteworthy that, on the one hand, a trade secret is a transparent concept, and on the other hand, its interpretation will be individual in each case. For example, can the composition of the founders and their data be its subject? Theoretically can. In practice, there are open databases, access to which is provided to everyone. Most often, it is not so difficult to determine what a trade secret is for this company, as it is difficult to maintain confidentiality in practice.

Ways to protect information

The procedure for the protection of secret information must be carried out and confirmed constantly. Many companies take many steps to create and protect information, then develop a document called "trade secret" or "privacy policy", send it to all employees and partners, and .... forget. They recall it only when violations become apparent. However, the real purpose of such a procedure as the protection of commercial secrets, in the prevention of abuse, and not in the sanctions for them. So, in order to maintain confidentiality of information, the following steps are necessary: ​​definition, association, security, additional measures, training. Let us explain in more detail each of them.

Step One - Identification

It is advisable to determine which information may have economic significance for the company. In addition, information is necessarytrade secret protection
categorize and find out exactly which data provides competitive advantages. The law on combating unfair competition gives the following definition: a trade secret is technical, technological or organizational information that is of economic importance.Owning it is an advantage because it is not widely known. If competitors gain access to it, it can provide them with a profit, help reduce costs, or get ahead in this niche. However, it is necessary to distinguish this information from the open: the best example is the list of customers that can be found on the company's website or in the phone book.

Step Two - Communication

Employees and others who receive information should be aware that they are confidential. If we do not mark the information "commercial secret", this may be interpreted incorrectly. Therefore, it is extremely important to have effective communication in the company, ensuring the exchange of messages and information. Employees should not guess and assume that a trade secret will be respected only if there is a corresponding indication or mark.

Step Three - Information Security

Ensuring the confidentiality of information - the task of stakeholders, as a rule, management or owners of the secret isExamples of physical protection are personal passwords to computers, important documents,using identifiers and restricting access to premises for outsiders; storing important data in safes or on reliable servers. Legal protection can be provided by signing a declaration (statement) or confidentiality agreement, a non-disclosure agreement and a ban on competition.

Step Four - Extra Measures

Procedures must be developed for hiring and firing an employee. The new employee must be familiar with the principles of protecting trade secrets. After all, employees are the key element in the entire information security process. Experience shows that most often the disclosure or leakage of information depends on former employees. Therefore, before leaving, you must remind them of signed agreements and statements.

Step Five - Learning

Employees should be aware of how important and necessary to protect sensitive information. They should be aware that the use of such information against the firm will adversely affect them, regardless of whether they remain or go to competitors. In the extreme case, it can also lead to the bankruptcy of the employer or problems throughout the industry if the company loses its key customers.

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