RESOLVE TO SAFEGUARD COMPANY INFORMATION IN 2012
For many businesses, employees are the biggest investment and the primary safeguard of their confidential, proprietary and competitive information. For some employees, however, a slowly rebounding economy presents increased opportunities to join a competitor looking to capitalize on the specialized knowledge of an experienced industry insider. As employers plan for 2012, the inherent risk posed by departing employees presents an opportunity to reevaluate measures used to protect confidential information and trade secrets from the high cost of misappropriation. To that end, the following steps may be helpful.
1. Identify what business information is a “trade secret” versus “confidential information”
All “trade secret” information is confidential, but not all “confidential information” is a trade secret. A trade secret is any highly confidential information related to your business – whether a fact, process, program, technique or other collection of information – that is independently valuable because it is neither known to, nor readily ascertainable by, competitors or the public through lawful means. “Confidential information” includes any other information that an employer wants to protect from disclosure, but that is not so critical to the company’s profitability as to have independent financial value if disclosed.
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