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Photo of attorneys E. Kelly Conway, Michael E. Gehring and Stephen G. Harvey

Recognizing when your trade secrets have been leaked

On Behalf of | May 13, 2024 | Intellectual Property

Trade secrets are valuable assets for businesses, like secret recipes or unique processes that give them a competitive edge. But what happens if these secrets are leaked?

Business owners need to know how to recognize signs of a leak to protect their integral information.

Changes with competitors

Perhaps the biggest sign of compromised trade secrets is when you notice sudden changes in your competitors’ behavior. If they start offering similar products or services that closely resemble yours, it is a red flag. Changes in market dynamics such as a sudden drop in sales or loss of market share, could also indicate that your trade secrets have been leaked and are being used by competitors.

Employee departures

Another indicator could be the sudden departure of key employees who had access to sensitive information. If an employee leaves unexpectedly, especially if they are going to work for a competitor or start their own similar business, investigate further.

Unusual requests

Be wary of any unusual requests for information from outsiders, such as suppliers or partners, especially if they ask for details about your proprietary processes or formulas. These requests could be a ploy to obtain your trade secrets.

Unauthorized access

Keep an eye out for any unauthorized access to documents or computer systems containing sensitive information. Implement strong security controls, monitor who has access to resources and investigate any suspicious activity.

Steps to take if you suspect a leak

If you suspect a trade secrets leak, take action promptly. Seek legal counsel to help you conduct an internal investigation to determine the source of the leak and mitigate any further damage. Tighten security measures to prevent future leaks, such as limiting access to sensitive information and implementing confidentiality agreements with employees and partners.

By staying vigilant and knowing the signs to look out for, you can safeguard your valuable information and maintain your edge in the market.

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