Our advice to clients in this area typically begins by differentiating among trade secrets, confidential information, and proprietary information. The identification and documentation of trade secrets is a key element of a trade-secret protection strategy, as is the marking of documents containing trade secrets and the memorialization of oral disclosures of trade secrets.
We also advise clients in the protection of trade secrets in relations with employees by preparing employment agreements and establishing procedures for new and departing employees. Only employees who need to know a trade secret for purposes of carrying out their employment duties should have access to that trade secret.
Also central to the preservation of trade secrets are protection matters vis-a-vis nonemployees. In this regard, we routinely prepare agreements setting forth independent contractors' and other companies' obligations with respect to the client's trade secrets and other confidentiality obligations.
Also vitally important to the preservation of trade secrets and other confidential information is the establishment of internal security measures. All of the client's officers, managers, directors, and supervisors should be responsible for ensuring that once instituted, all security measures are followed as appropriate with respect to all trade secrets.
Lastly, care must be taken to protect trade secrets in the course of the delivering of speeches and technical papers, as well as in the demonstration of company products at trade shows, customer meetings, and the like.