Trade secrets can protect almost any type of information, even relatively trivial seeming data - if the necessary steps have been taken to keep it confidential.
They require no registration, and are accordingly, free to acquire and maintain. Unlike other IP rights, they can last indefinitely.
Trade secrets come in various forms: technical "know-how", algorithms, software source code, customer lists, pricing information, databases and even information which is made widely available on a subscriber-only basis, or which may only be confidential (and therefore valuable) for a short period of time.
However, they are also vulnerable: if they seep into the public domain, the secrecy is lost forever. The threats to them are numerous: inadvertent leaks, cybersecurity hacks and vulnerabilities, misappropriation by departing employees or corporate espionage.
The risks are growing fast. Firstly, because businesses are creating and disseminating ever more data. Secondly, due to the use of increasingly distributed workforces and remote working, often on personal devices of vulnerable networks. It is estimated that the annual cost of trade secret theft is over £1 trillion.
How we can help
Our multi-disciplinary team of specialists in IP, employment, data protection, regulatory and commercial law, and dedicated cyber-security team MDR Cyber, can work with you to identify, protect, exploit and crisis manage your trade secrets.
We provide audits to identify the information that is valuable to your business, then advise on practical steps to protect it, from a commercial, legal and technical perspective. Active management of trade secrets is crucial; we will devise policies that can be implemented throughout your business.
Working closely with expert investigators and our cyber incident response specialists MDR Cyber, we have considerable expertise in minimising damage caused by trade secrets falling into the wrong hands. There are often early warning signs, or digital footprints left by would-be thieves. If you are aware of a potential threat to your confidential information, we can advise on the best course of action.
If your trade secrets are misappropriated, our injunction and search order specialists will take swift and effective action to minimise the harm caused, bring the perpetrators to account, and recover damages.