Nondisclosure agreements (NDAs) have been under pressure in recent years in Colorado and across the country. Although some legal and policy reforms have weakened them in limited ways, the NDA is alive and well.
But NDAs are not the only way to keep secrets about a company’s intellectual property (IP). Whether a company is looking for ways to strengthen its NDAs or limit how much they rely on these contracts, it can be helpful to look beyond the traditional NDA.
An article from the Forbes Technology Council suggested 14 ways to strengthen IP secrets, beyond relying exclusively on NDAs. Here are a few of the suggestions.
Playing hardball shows you will play hardball
Employees, competitors and everyone else tend to act on the information they have. When a company does not enforce its IP rights vigorously, it can reasonably expect others to assume the company’s IP is fair game, according to a member of the Forbes Council.
Education is key
When there is always so much for newcomers to learn, education priorities can force tough decisions. Companies should not forget that everyone at every level and in every position, from intake to exit and everywhere in between, needs to know about and understand confidential intellectual property.
Practice talking about confidential issues
People sometimes let secrets slip when they are looking for the right words to explain things. By thoughtfully choosing how everyone will talk about secret issues, everyone can keep secrets when speaking “off script.”
Share information about IP on a need-to-know basis
If a partner or employee can do their job knowing only the results of the company’s secrets, and without knowing the way the company gets there, the company should allow them to follow that process. No secrecy policy is more effective than simply keeping secrets.
Protect the IP by getting it into the marketplace
Having a nimble process that efficiently moves ideas from inspiration to customers has market advantages, but it also protects intellectual property rights, the Forbes article suggests. Sometimes, the best leak of what you are working on comes when you lay it out as a benchmark for the industry.