What steps should business owners take if trade secrets are leaked?

On Behalf of | Apr 16, 2021 | intellectual property & trade secrets

Even if business owners take steps to secure their trade secrets, it is still common to worry. After all, businesses rely on their trade secrets to keep a competitive edge and achieve success in the business world.

And this concern came center stage for business owners large and small when tech giant Apple filed a lawsuit against a former employee for stealing and leaking trade secrets. This is the worst-case scenario for many businesses, so it is important that they know how to move forward in this situation.

Three steps to take after a trade secret leak

While it is important to act quickly when trade secrets are at risk, business owners must also act strategically – especially when it comes to filing a lawsuit.

Therefore, business owners should:

  1. Calculate the losses suffered: Business owners must demonstrate that their business would face significant damage because of this leak to move forward with a lawsuit. This is critical. It provides businesses with a starting point and grounds for a lawsuit. Business owners should consult financial experts and carefully calculate the losses suffered as a result of this misappropriation.
  2. Review the contract: Additionally, California business owners should take time to read and assess the contracts and any other relevant agreements they held with the party at fault. This is helpful to understand the terms required of both parties and determine if the infringing party breached the contract.
  3. Evaluate measures to maintain secrecy: The United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) states that trade secret owners must take reasonable steps to keep the information a secret. Business owners should review their trade secret policies, as well as the implementation of those policies. If courts determine that business owners did not take reasonable measures, then businesses may not have grounds to recover damages.

Taking these steps is essential. Then, it is often beneficial for businesses to seek experienced counsel to determine their next steps forward to protect the future of their business.