Attire Accessories - Dec 2017/Jan 2018 (Issue 67)

is a clause about maintaining confidentiality for a period of time, even after the employee has left your company. Know-how is hard to gain and easy to share if not protected by agreements. 4. Never underestimate the strength of signing a confidentiality agreement with business partners whenever you’re discussing or disclosing confidential information. Sadly, relationships do go wrong and, if they do, it is much easier to seek legal redress if you can rely on the all- important small print. 5. Trade secret protection is not limited to time, unlike other intellectual property rights, so a trade secret can continue indefinitely, as long as it’s not revealed to the public. Again, look at the recipe for Coca Cola, probably one of the best kept secrets of all time! Also, there are no registration costs involved and trade secrets have immediate effect.There are no formalities such as disclosure to any Government authority. 6. Make prevention of theft of trade secrets a priority. Once a trade secret is disclosed, whilst litigation is available, usually the damage has already been done! 7. Do you have a protocol or guidelines on trade secrets within your company? Importance on what can and can’t be disclosed is critical. Always ensure that sensitive documents are stored securely or, if they are no longer required, properly disposed of by specialist companies. 8. Never underestimate the value of your sales lists and data and put in place clear measures that will safeguard their confidentiality. 9. Watch very carefully and identify all information that your organisation provides to third parties, a signed confidentiality agreement can be very valuable in not only providing evidence that two parties have signed such an agreement of disclosure but raises awareness with those with whom you are sharing information that you are trade secret savvy! 10. Limit physical and digital access to trade secret information which should be on a need-to-know basis. Practical and simple tips such as a shredding policy seem common sense but very few have this. There are many companies out there who will collect sensitive and confidential “waste” and ensure its disposal. Finally, having a Trade Secret policy is a no brainer. Once in place it can be refined and improved upon and evolve into a real asset to protect the know-how of your business which gives YOU the competitive edge. If your trade secrets end up in the wrong hands have a proactive Trade Secrets action plan already in place. Never underestimate that competition is rife and those who seek the fast track to market through others’ trade secrets/know-how are nimble and organised. In 2016, the EU adopted a Directive aiming to standardise national laws in EU countries against the unlawful acquisition, disclosure and use of trade secrets. Without establishing criminal sanctions, the proposal harmonises the civil means through which victims of trade secret misappropriation can seek protection, such as: • stopping the unlawful use and further disclosure of misappropriated trade secrets, • the removal from the market of goods that have been manufactured on the basis of a trade secret that has been illegally acquired • the right to compensation for the damages caused by the unlawful use or disclosure of the misappropriated trade secret So, an important question for all businesses is, what will happen post-Brexit on this issue? Will the UK comply with this Directive by 9 th June, 2018. Let’s hope so! A For more information, visit ATTIRE 101 ACID