A trade secret is a process that provides a company with a competitive advantage. Examples can vary from a formula to customer lists to a streamlined distribution model.
There are at least a few procedures you can use to help protect your trade secrets, if you’ve got them. For example, have your employees sign confidentially agreements (called Non-Disclosure Agreements) confirming they will not use the trade secrets beyond the realm of their employment responsibilities. There should also be sections within this agreement detailing their ability to be employed by competitors should they be terminated (such as a Non-Compete clause).
Many companies have also successfully “departmentalized” certain parts of information to protect trade secrets. In other words, disseminating crucial parts of trade secrets across different departments ensures no one beyond executive management knows the complete process. Therefore, separately, that information is almost meaningless when one only sees one piece at a time.
Patent protection is another option. A patent can provide generally twenty years of protection for a company’s trade secret.
Nothing noted above will guarantee that a company’s trade secret will remain absolutely beyond figuring out; if a competitor is set on figuring out what’s making you special, there’s nothing to stop them from figuring it out through reverse engineering. But for the most part, carefully thought-out and executed company procedures can be put in place to provide that extra level of security to further support competitive advantage.
Always make sure that you make an informed decision in all cases,
All the Best,