Louisiana, like many other states, recognizes the need for companies to be able to protect intangible assets such as trade secrets that give their companies a competitive advantage over their competition.

The Uniform Trade Secrets Act has been adopted by most states. It legislates, defines and protects trade secrets. Generally speaking the legal definition of a trade secret is some piece of information which has economic value first, by not being generally known, and second, because it can reasonably be maintained a secret. The Uniform Trade Secrets Act is broad but can protect almost any information that gives the business an advantage in the market. While the following information is not legal advice, it should help companies understand how they can do their part in protecting their assets.

How a company goes about doing that depends entirely on the type of trade secrets that it holds. Therefore it is crucial a business is able to identify any pieces of information that they deem in need of protection and equally as important is creating a viable and efficient system of clearly identifying newly created material that will require protection.

Similarly, any documentation that may contain trade secret information should be labeled confidential and have access limited to a small subset of employees on a strict need to know basis. It is important to determine where trade secret information is stored and to identify those employees who have access to it. In addition, it is important to ensure that any electronic devices that store sensitive information have password protection, especially if they are portable and mobile like laptops and tablets.

If the business must outsource production to vendors outside the company then using multiple vendors to manufacture a portion of the final product may help. Do not disclose the relationship between the different parts. This makes it harder for a vendor to gain the technical knowledge and ability to manufacture the trade secret. Also, always include a strict confidentiality provision in all contracts with all third party entities that are not part of your business.

Protecting one intellectual property is important not only for the success of the business but also to ensure that its creative power is maintained. However, there are times when an intellectual property dispute may arise. Given the complexity of business law in this area, litigating any matter pertaining to intellectual property disputes may requires the assistance of a business law firm.

Source: FindLaw, “Protecting Trade Secrets,” Accessed Sept. 23, 2014