Trade Secret Protection and Enforcement

Once publicly disclosed, trade secrets — as well as the competitive advantage they embody — are lost forever. Trade secrets may include secret business methods, processes, formulas, and client lists. Bulkley Richardson’s attorneys understand the significance of well-kept trade secrets to a company’s success, to its competitive edge and, for some, to its very existence. In a world of constant innovation, we work closely with our clients to ensure that these key assets are kept safe and protected against inadvertent disclosure and unauthorized acquisition, use or disclosure.

We have a record of success enforcing trade secrets and asserting and defending trade secret misappropriation claims. Recognizing the costs of litigation, however, we also counsel clients on how best to prevent trade secret disputes from even arising by helping them to identify and evaluate assets that require protection and to establish policies and best practices for that protection. This may include preparation of appropriately tailored restrictive covenants, confidentiality, non-compete and non-solicitation agreements, and internal policies and practices, as well as methods to safeguard confidential business information that does not qualify for trade secret protection.

Misappropriation of trade secrets often involves departing employees, as ever-increasing reliance on electronic data combined with high employee mobility make it easier than ever to transmit proprietary data. With the help of our skilled attorneys within our Employment Practice Group, we design practical solutions to help our clients minimize and resolve the problematic issues that such departures can cause. Among other things, we work preemptively to help clients develop and implement appropriate employee agreements, sound confidentiality agreements, and other cost-effective security measures and strategies. We may then counsel both our clients and their employees on the scope and significance of those agreements.

Representative Experience

Bulkley Richardson’s attorneys have advised on many types of protectable trade secret assets, including those as diverse as:

  • Novel methods and systems for creating energy from animal waste
  • Methods and software for expediting recording, analyzing, and reporting protected health data gathered in the field by community health workers
  • Proprietary systems for engine governing and system controls

Methods that we have developed and employed to secure trade secret protection have included:

  • Identification of trade secrets through trade secret audits
  • Development and implementation of trade secret protection and management programs including digital media policies, website and internet procedures and best practices, internal communication policies  
  • Employee policies and procedures from initial hire to exit interview
  • Contracts including trade secret licensing agreements, nondisclosure and non-compete agreements, employment agreements and trade secret assignment and vendor agreements

Litigation, alternative dispute resolution and settlement of trade secret disputes