Trade secrets misappropriation is on the increase. Digital storage devices make misappropriation easier to accomplish and harder to detect than ever before. The Obama Administration has recently launched its Strategy on Mitigating the Loss of U.S. Trade Secrets. The announcement is a good occasion for businesses to focus on how to protect their own trade secrets and guard against claims of misappropriation. Every business has trade secrets. Businesses need to inventory their trade secrets; assess and reassess their practical, technological, and contractual safeguards; and structure protective measures that work for their unique needs. Businesses that gain access to confidential information of others (in due diligence, in mergers and acquisitions, and in joint ventures, to mention just a few contexts) also need to focus on installing safeguards to protect against claims of misappropriation once authorized sharing ends. The Administration’s plans for an information clearinghouse will provide a useful resource, but do not replace the need for corporate vigilance.
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