Protecting trade secrets: common pitfalls and how to avoid them


Hannah Netherton

Protecting trade secrets: common pitfalls and how to avoid them

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Innovating companies need a robust system that prevents misuse of trade secrets and responds quickly when a breach is discovered, says Hannah Netherton, partner in employment law at CMS.

Protection of trade secrets has never been more important. Commercial advantage and business opportunities can stand or fall on being the first mover or established player in a competitive market, but gone are the days when secret formulae were locked in office safes.

Most businesses store sensitive commercial information on cloud-based networks that have varying degrees of access by company personnel and third parties. The past year has shown that employees don’t need to be physically in the workplace to access a huge range of company information, and in fact remote working can create greater opportunities for bad actors to thrive.

Many trade secret breaches come from employees or ex-employees, through a combination of human error and malicious intent. Below are some of the most common mistakes that companies can make when it comes to protecting their trade secrets and confidential information in the UK, and some key steps that can be taken to manage these risks.

CMS, trade secrets, innovation, commercial advantage, business opportunities, organisational culture, data, cloud-based