Driven by the furious pace of technological advancement, companies across industries are engaged in an unprecedented race to innovate. To win business, companies must not only be smarter, quicker and more agile in their approach to innovation, but also transform how they protect the very innovations that define them.
Amid this high-speed race, the attention that companies give to protecting their trade secrets can mean the difference between success and failure. It's why an IT company will go to great lengths to safeguard its software algorithms, a life science company will conceal its early testing procedures and an ecommerce firm will closely guard its supply chain and logistics techniques.
To better understand the role trade secrets play in today's digital age, we have examined how the leaders of multinational companies view their trade secrets, who they see as the greatest threats to those secrets, and what they do to protect them.
Protecting company trade secrets
Drawing on the survey responses of over 400 senior executives across five industries, we found that these executives place great importance on trade secrets. However, not all companies are taking basic steps to preserve their trade secrets, reflecting a disconnect between the level of importance that corporate executives place on this type of intellectual property and what their companies are actually doing to protect them.
In order to help organizations safeguard their trade secrets, we have developed a checklist offering best practices and practical advice. It identifies four key steps to ensure adequate levels of trade secrets protection.
- Identify trade secrets
- Create and maintain an inventory
- Implement protective contractual, physical and technical organizational measures
- Have a misappropriation action plan