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Recently, a small Boulder-based client who is about to expand exponentially asked me for guidance on protecting a process his company considers top-secret. My advice to him: take sufficient steps to make sure that those who are exposed to the trade secret are aware of its status as such. In particular, I told him there were three policies he could implement:
- Confidentiality Agreement.
A carefully worded confidentiality, trade secret, and non-disclosure agreement in compliance with Colorado law will go a long way to show that the company takes its trade secret information seriously. Confidentiality agreements with employees and contractors will also discourage disclosure and provide remedies in case of a breach. In this case, we also squeezed some work product language into the model agreement.
- Electronic Information.
If information that the company would like to be considered a Trade Secret is only available electronically, I recommend limiting the number of individuals who can access the data to those who have a legitimate, business reason to know the information. Additional safeguards with passwords and a log book can ensure that the company is abreast of access or attempted access to the information.
- Information in Hard Copy.
Manually recorded data can be kept under lock and key, with procedures in place to designate one individual to store and access the information.