How to Keep a Trade Secret

If a company decides to use a trade secret, they should be very aware of how to keep a trade secret. Mark all computer files and documents about trade secrets with a confidentiality warning. First, they need to restrict all access to trade secrets to very few people. Only the people within the company that absolutely have to have a reason to know the information should know it. The only reason that anyone should ever know the trade secret is that, in them knowing it, it will benefit the business in some substantial way. Make anybody that you reveal a trade secret to sign an agreement of confidentiality.

All employees, suppliers, manufacturers, and sub-contractors that are in on the trade secret should have to sign a non-disclosure agreement. Make sure that it is stressed to all of the employees that are in on the trade secret that all trade secrets have to be treated as confidential information. This should be so, even if the employee does NOT know the trade secret—they should be told that they do not need to know the secret and leave it at that. In addition, businesses should keep their trade secret information in a restricted area of the workplace. Most importantly, never think that is enough just to tell everyone that your information is a secret! It cannot be stressed enough that if a company does decide to tell their trade secret they should always use a Confidentiality Agreement.

All confidentiality agreements should describe the trade secret and how the signee will use it, describe that confidentiality is necessary, tell what would happen to the signee if they break the secret (lawsuit? termination?) and tell how long the agreement will last. Lawyers, especially those specializing in patents and trademarks, could also easily help you draw up a confidentiality agreement. It is also possible to research trade secret non-disclosure agreements online.