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Because of the very nature of trade secrets, it is prudent to prioritise and invest in preventive measures to protect them, rather than hoping for a cure after the event as in the current pandemic, say Rebecca Swindells and Andrew Aistrup of Jones Day.
COVID-19 has forced businesses around the world to adapt rapidly to new ways of working. For some, government-ordered lockdowns and social distancing policies have resulted in entire workforces being redeployed to work from home, while others have made the more difficult decision to furlough or terminate employees altogether in an effort to weather the storm.
Both scenarios raise a number of logistical and, invariably, human challenges. One that may not have been at the fore of consideration is the ongoing protection of trade secrets, a particularly sensitive concern during times of crisis.
Through disruption to normal procedures, heightened risks of disclosure present themselves, and ultimately many businesses will rely on the commercial value of the information to carry through to the other side once operations can return to a more normal state.
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Trade secrets, COVID-19, coronavirus, trade secret protection, Jones Day, data security, remote working