Trade secrets often comprise a large portion of the value of a company’s IP assets – and these assets sometimes represent a company’s “crown jewels.” Trade secret protection extends to a wide spectrum of information and technology, including research and development materials, technical know-how, source code, manufacturing processes and techniques, customer lists, marketing plans, business and financial information, and vendor information.

For these valuable assets, it is critical that companies take the necessary steps to keep them secret; otherwise, they risk not being able to enforce and prosecute their rights in the event of theft.

Maintaining strict controls around company trade secrets is all the more important given the massive increase in IP theft in recent years, with increased security threats from new hacking technologies, competitors, supply chain vendors and contractors, and foreign state actors. In the wake of the COVID-19 crisis, it is vitally important to update and implement trade secret protection policies to address risks associated with remote workforces, as well as risks of disclosure by disgruntled former employees who may have been terminated or furloughed and who may be motivated to take the company’s trade secrets to a new employer or otherwise disclose or use them.

Reed Smith has deep, worldwide experience helping clients develop robust trade secrets protection programs to minimize the threat of theft or inadvertent disclosure before problems arise. When disputes do arise, our deep bench of trial attorneys and litigators are well versed in trade secrets investigations and disputes and have a record of success across the globe.