- Posted by lawyeradmin
- On July 25, 2017
The recent court battles between tech giants and the firing of a top designer within the autonomous car industry has brought to light the intricacies of what it means to successfully protect intellectual property. And as these titans fight over rights to autonomous vehicle technology and disclosure of trade secrets, it highlights the importance of securing your own intellectual property. But how can one properly protect IP from being leaked, transmitted, or otherwise shared beyond its original intended scope?
It is important to note that not every case in which intellectual property is improperly shared is caused by corporate misdoings or espionage. Rather, trade secrets are often leaked by a simple mistake made by a careless employee. Cases in which an employee mistakenly allows privileged information outside of its appropriate channels are quite common and though made with no intention to cause harm to their company, these leaks can still be considered misappropriation of trade secrets none the less, depending on the law in a particular jurisdiction.
Though whatever the cause or reasoning behind trade secrets being leaked or stolen, as owner and holder of trade secrets, there are a few steps that can be taken to ensure mistakes are not made and, when they still occur, you can raise the chance that your IP will remain secure.
Protecting Trade Secrets Begins with Strong NDA‘s…
Given that the potential for accidentally exposing trade secrets is very much a real danger for any company that holds rights to their own IP, it is essential that actions are taken to limit the possibility for a leak while preparing for the event. This includes creating open channels of communication between all those with access to privileged information to discuss proper procedures as well as ensuring that employees are aware of those procedures, and the potential damage that can arise from accidental disclosure when trade secrets are involved.
In addition, a company should have a strong non-disclosure agreement signed by every employee that is granted privileged access to trade secrets. As the name implies, an NDA provides an entity with a level of protection in the event of either a malicious attack against trade secrets or an accidental leak.
The protections afforded to an entity by strong NDAs do not simply stop at covering only those currently employed by a company but can extend to any party involved with dealing with or interacting with a company’s IP. If IP is being transferred between two separate companies for whatever purposes, an NDA will ensure that despite being given access, the other entity will act in accordance with protecting the individual rights afforded to a holder of the trade secret.
Prevention and Prosecution Begins with an NDA…
Non-disclosure agreements are instrumental not only in the prevention of leaked trade secrets but can make the difference when prosecuting a case of misappropriation before the court system. In many cases, if there is no NDA, trade secret cases are not viable. This highlights exactly how critical it is to ensure that your company utilizes strong NDA’s for each party that has access to privileged information.