Defending Your Trade Secrets: Are you prepared for the DTSA?

John Boruvka

A trade secret is any confidential business information which provides an enterprise a competitive edge, according to the World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO).

In the consumer world, famous trade secrets include the formulas for Coke, Mrs. Field’s cookies, Listerine, and WD-40. But, in the B2B world, trade secrets can consist of your software source code, manufacturing processes, formulas, computer algorithms, industrial designs, business strategies, and customer lists.

According to the US Chamber of Commerce, trade secrets can comprise up to 80% of the value of a company’s information portfolio. Yet, as the value of trade secrets increases, their vulnerability increases as well.

How will the Defend Trade Secrets Act help?

The Defend Trade Secrets Act (DTSA) was signed into law by President Obama on May 11, 2016. This first-of-its-kind federal legislation is being hailed as a sweeping change to the nation’s intellectual property (IP) laws with the potential to transform trade secret litigation and create more uniform case law.

Although 48 states currently have their own trade secret laws, the DTSA will effectively “federalize” these laws, which gives trade secret owners a powerful new option to file trade secret lawsuits under the Federal Economic Espionage Act.

So, what does the DTSA mean for me?

Essentially, the DTSA is a tool that enables IP owners to address trade secret misappropriation more effectively – in much the same way that you can defend patents, trademarks, and copyrights. But, the onus is on you to protect your trade secrets, and your other IP, effectively.

The National Law Review poses an important question: “Does your company implement reasonable measures to protect trade secret and confidential information?” In order to defend your IP, you must first identify it and put protective measures in place.

What can I do to protect my trade secrets?

That’s where Iron Mountain comes in. Iron Mountain can help with our Intellectual Property Development Protection Agreement (IPDPA) service which lets you document your company’s trade secrets through date- and time-stamped deposits into our secure vaults.

The landscape is changing, and stronger legislation is now in place to protect trade secrets. But, remember, you need to implement reasonable measures to protect your trade secrets so that they can be successfully defended under the new legislation if that becomes necessary.

Are you doing enough to protect your trade secrets?

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