Wipo Smes Mpt 06 Www 70038


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Wipo Smes Mpt 06 Www 70038

  2. 2. Outline of Presentation <ul><li>What are trade secrets </li></ul><ul><li>Keeping them secret </li></ul><ul><li>Trade secrets or patents </li></ul><ul><li>Legal protection for trade secrets and remedies for their misappropriation </li></ul>
  3. 3. What are Trade Secrets <ul><li>Trade secrets are confidential information that has commercial value by virtue of being kept secret and reasonable steps have been taken to keep it secret. </li></ul>
  4. 4. Trade secret audit <ul><li>Conducting an TS audit is to determine whether or not you have any trade secret assets; then to identify them; and final to take measures to make sure they retain their status as protectable trade secrets </li></ul><ul><li>Should be done periodically </li></ul><ul><li>Team – trusted people who know the company </li></ul>
  5. 5. Why should you conduct a TS audit <ul><li>Identify assets that would otherwise be unknown </li></ul><ul><li>By identifying and protecting prevent their loss </li></ul><ul><li>A court is more likely to give TS status to information identified internally as TS </li></ul><ul><li>Establish clarity </li></ul>
  6. 6. Potential trade secrets <ul><li>Technical and scientific information </li></ul><ul><li>Financial, legal and HR information </li></ul><ul><li>Commercial information </li></ul>
  7. 7. Technical and Scientific Information <ul><li>product information </li></ul><ul><ul><li>technical composition of a product (medicine, paint, recipe for a sauce), data about product performance, product design information </li></ul></ul><ul><li>manufacture information </li></ul><ul><ul><li>manufacturing methods and processes (weaving technique, device process), production costs, refinery processes, raw materials, machinery </li></ul></ul><ul><li>know-how necessary to perform a particular operation </li></ul>
  8. 8. Commercial Information <ul><li>customer list </li></ul><ul><li>business strategies/plans </li></ul><ul><li>marketing strategy/research </li></ul><ul><li>customer buying preferences and requirements </li></ul><ul><li>consumer profiles </li></ul><ul><li>sales methods </li></ul>
  9. 9. Financial, Legal and HR Information <ul><li>Pricing information </li></ul><ul><li>Salary and compensation plans </li></ul><ul><li>Employee evaluation </li></ul>
  10. 10. Monday April 9 3:45 AM ET Fruit of the Loom Sues Competitor CHICAGO (AP) - Fruit of the Loom is suing competitor Gildan Activewear Inc., accusing the Montreal company of stealing trade secrets to grab a competitive edge in the cutthroat apparel business. Fruit of the Loom contends the reports include production goals for plants in El Salvador, Honduras and Mexico that would allow Gildan to estimate production costs . They detail sales to specific customers, trends in demand and budget information .
  11. 11. Develop a trade secret protection policy <ul><li>HR policy </li></ul><ul><li>Restrict access </li></ul><ul><li>“Confidential” </li></ul>
  12. 12. Human Resource Policy <ul><li>Awareness creation/strong enforcement of breaches </li></ul><ul><li>Confidential agreements/clauses </li></ul><ul><li>Staff manual </li></ul><ul><li>Exit interviews, non compete agreements </li></ul><ul><li>Similar expectations vis-à-vis third party consultants </li></ul>
  13. 13. Restrict Access <ul><li>Documents under lock and key </li></ul><ul><li>password protection </li></ul><ul><li>Disclosure on a “need to know”basis </li></ul><ul><li>Registration at reception/visitor logs/escorts </li></ul><ul><li>Use “keep out” “authorized personnel only”signs </li></ul><ul><li>Access controlled photocopiers, scanners, computers. Use of shredders </li></ul><ul><li>Nothing on the internet </li></ul>
  14. 14. “Confidential” <ul><li>“ This document contains confidential and proprietary information of [COMPANY] and is protected by copyright, trade secret and other national laws. Its receipt or possession does not convey any rights to reproduce, disclose its contents, or to manufacture, use or sell anything it may describe. Reproduction, disclosure, or use without specific written authorization of [COMPANY] is strictly forbidden” </li></ul>
  15. 15. Example – Coca Cola <ul><li>Said to be the best kept secret </li></ul><ul><li>Formula kept in a bank vault </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Can only be opened by a resolution of the company Board of Directors </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Only two people know the secret </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Their identities are unknown </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>They cannot travel together </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>They oversee the production </li></ul></ul>
  16. 16. Patent or Trade Secret Protection <ul><li>Such information may qualify for patent protection or trade secret protection. A company may choose trade secret protection even for information that qualify for patent protection. </li></ul>
  17. 17. Trade Secrets or Patents <ul><li>No registration (costs/time factor) </li></ul><ul><li>Duration is not limited to specified period of time </li></ul><ul><li>No disclosure </li></ul><ul><li>Wider information </li></ul><ul><li>Difficult to enforce </li></ul><ul><li>No protection against independent discovery or RE </li></ul><ul><li>Registration required (cost/time factor) </li></ul><ul><li>Limited duration </li></ul><ul><li>Disclosure required </li></ul><ul><li>Limited to claims </li></ul><ul><li>Easier to enforce </li></ul><ul><li>Exclusive rights </li></ul>
  18. 18. <ul><li>As to whether TS or patent is the more appropriate protection depends on the kind of product, nature of the business and the policies of the company. Some products have a short commercial life (TS better), some information may be difficult to keep secret and some products may be more easily reverse engineered than others (patent better). </li></ul>
  19. 19. Protection for Trade Secrets <ul><li>Often no specific law </li></ul><ul><li>Where there is a contract; employees with express provisions in their contracts or an implied duty of confidentiality or those who have signed NDA or CA </li></ul><ul><li>Where there is no contract; information imparted in confidence and used in breach of that confidence or information obtained by unlawful or improper means (theft, industrial espionage, bribery) </li></ul>
  20. 20. Remedies <ul><li>Civil remedies based on breach of contract or tort law; damages, injunctions, seizures and impoundment </li></ul><ul><li>Criminal remedies - rarely a criminal offense in its own right but could attract criminal liability by committing criminal offenses for procuring the information (theft, trespass etc) </li></ul>
  21. 21. Final thought <ul><li>You may not know that you have valuable business information recognized by law as trade secrets till it is too late. </li></ul><ul><li>Identify and protect them </li></ul><ul><li>They may be the key to your competitiveness </li></ul>
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