Running your own business is a difficult task. It can take many years to develop your own processes for creating products or providing a service. It often takes even longer to develop a list of clients and customers who need what you can provide. How discouraging is it to consider the idea that someone could steal the information you spent decades acquiring for their own personal gain?
Thankfully, the United States government recognizes the fact that the potential for intellectual property theft has a chilling effect on business investments. There are protections in place for those who start or manage businesses.
When people invest years of their life and much of their savings into a company, they expect to be able to earn a profit after all of that work. If someone else steals your trade secrets, that could keep your business from competing and destroy the potential for any return on your investment.
What are trade secrets?
Intellectual property laws exist to protect inventors, business owners and other contributors to the economy from the theft of their ideas and the knowledge they have worked to acquire. Trade secrets vary drastically from industry to industry and company to company.
For a company like Coca-Cola, the formula for their signature soda is a trade secret. For a business that does direct sales to other businesses, the list of existing clients they maintain could be a trade secret. Overall, a trade secret is any information your company purchased, developed or learned through the course of business that is integral to daily operations.
If your competitors do not have this information, and it is solely the property of your company, then it is likely a trade secret. Your trade secrets are protected, even if you never file any special paperwork with the government.
What do violations of trade secrets rights look like?
Sometimes, the theft of trade secrets is open and obvious. Your company could end up targeted by social engineers, hackers or burglars that steal important information. Other times, trade-secret theft is more subtle. It is possible for your existing or former employees to steal your trade secrets in the hope of selling them to your competitors or personally profiting off of them in the future.
If you suspect someone has stolen a trade secret from your company, take immediate action. If you do not stand up for the intellectual property of your business, it could end up costing the company a lot of money.
In fact, it could end up ruining your business. If you believe someone has stolen trade secrets from your company, take steps to learn more about trade secrets and intellectual property rights.