Q&A: Trade Secret Laws

by John Rake

Q: How should I protect my businesses’ innovations that are not patentable?

A: Trade secret laws protect a broader category of subject matter than patent laws. Trade secret laws protect any information that provides economic value to you that is not known or ascertainable by your competitors, including customer or supplier lists, marketing and financial data, and algorithms and formulas used in the abstract. To take advantage of trade secret laws, 1) limit disclosure of the existence of trade secret information to parties with a “need to know,” 2) restrict access to trade secret information, 3) mark trade secret information as “confidential” or “trade secret,” and 4) require that parties with access to trade secret information sign nondisclosure and confidentiality agreements.

 

Originally published in the Portland Business Journal.