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Impact of AI on trade secrets

Artificial intelligence (AI) has been a hot topic for years. The WIPO predicts this digital frontier will impact everyone, from small businesses to large corporations. Aside from technological, economic and social implications, it will immensely affect traditional intellectual property concepts. For a start: trade secrets.

Protecting trade secrets

With AI technology exploding all over the world, it is valid for companies to feel overwhelmed. Industries are struggling to keep up with recent changes. Innovation is even outpacing the law. In some cases, this can leave patents, copyrights and trade secrets vulnerable.

Federal and state laws will often protect the following:

  • Codes
  • Designs
  • Methods
  • Programs
  • Processes
  • Techniques

It is important for individuals and businesses to anticipate and strategize. First, begin by safeguarding your trade secrets with documentation, such as:

  • Nondisclosure agreements
  • Legally binding contracts
  • Copyright applications

Written policies should define trade secret management. It is also wise to limit the number of individuals and companies that know about your trade secrets. For physical protection, be sure to keep important cabinets and rooms locked. Additionally, label documents that contain trade secrets and limit the amount of copies.

Trade secrets can be kept on a computer or inside tattered manila folder. Either way, guard the information wisely. Various software provides high-tech protection. However, in some cases, individuals will steal the whole desktop computer. Keep technology under physical lock and key as well.

Lastly, conduct an information audit to track who has access to the trade secrets, and where the confidential information is kept. Often blind spots appear, giving you the opportunity to initiate further protective measures.

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