Frequently, the most economical way to protect proprietary information like customer lists, prices, costs and technologies is to treat them as trade secrets. Keeping the secret provides an additional benefit—you can sue whoever steals it. To do that, however, you will have to show that:
- The trade secret can be described precisely enough to show that it is not part of what is generally known in the trade or business
- The trade secret derives some independent economic value; the secret is not generally known to the public
- The company has used reasonable efforts under the circumstances to maintain the secret
Here is a checklist of basic steps you should take to help protect your trade secrets. Use it to audit your current protections and to plan for more stringent measures.