Guidance for companies seeking leading practices for a trade secret protection program
to mitigate risks to confidential business information
WASHINGTON, D.C., July 15, 2015 – The Center for Responsible Enterprise and Trade (CREATe.org) today releases a whitepaper “Reasonable Steps” to Protect Trade Secrets: Leading Practices in an Evolving Legal Landscape” offering insights into what systems companies should put in place to protect confidential business and technical information considered “trade secrets.” The paper outlines:
- International, regional and national laws featuring the “reasonable steps” requirement;
- The types of protections that companies have implemented;
- Analysis of the types of “reasonable steps” that court cases have examined in determining whether to give trade secret protection to particular material;
- Checklists and examples of practical steps that companies can take to put protections in place in the eight categories that CREATe recommends for an effective trade secret protection program.
The loss of trade secrets – ranging from proprietary formulas to confidential product information to unique production methodologies – can have far reaching and debilitating impacts for companies. By their very nature, trade secrets are “secret” and are not protected in the same way as traditional forms of intellectual property. When there is misappropriation, in a growing number of jurisdictions a company must prove that it has taken “reasonable steps” to prevent trade secret theft or misuse.
“CREATe.org’s work on trade secret protection with companies around the world has provided us the opportunity to see what is working inside of companies – and importantly, what is not,” stated Pamela Passman, President and CEO of CREATe.org. “To help guide companies on this issue, we have undertaken this research to present how the law is evolving and how companies can take practical steps to better manage and protect trade secrets.”
This whitepaper builds on CREATe’s other reports on trade secrets. The first addressed the risks associated with working with third parties: Trade Secret Theft: Managing the Growing Threat in Supply Chains (May 2012). The second, a report developed with PwC, described how companies can identify, assess and secure trade secrets. It is titled: Economic Impact of Trade Secret Theft: A Framework for Companies to Safeguard Trade Secrets and Mitigate Potential Threats (February 2014).
To help companies better protect trade secrets and confidential business information in a practical and cost-effective way, CREATe will also be launching a service in September 2015: CREATe Leading Practices for Trade Secret Protection. The service will include an online assessment/benchmarking, an independent expert evaluation and resources, tools and checklists for improvement. For more information, please email info@CREATe.org.
Please visit https://create.org/resources/to download the report.
Founded in October 2011, the Center for Responsible Enterprise And Trade (CREATe.org) is a non-governmental organization (NGO) helping companies prevent piracy, counterfeiting, trade secret theft, and corruption.
Our mission is to make leading practices in IP protection and anti-corruption achievable for all companies. To achieve this mission, we have developed CREATe Leading Practices for IP Protection and CREATe Leading Practices for Anti-Corruption, two services based on best practices drawn from multinational companies, academics, international and business organizations.
Building on decades of work across the business community on quality assurance, health and safety and other issues, CREATe takes a management systems approach to helping companies implement the internal business processes they need to effectively protect intellectual property and prevent corruption.
Companies around the world are using CREATe Leading Practices to benchmark and improve systems for IP protection and anti-corruption. The services are available in Chinese, English, Portuguese and Spanish.