With recent advances in technology and the ease of sharing, copying, and storing information in the digital world, one of the biggest challenges that businesses face is the protection of their confidential business information. This information can include business strategies, proposals, client databases and information, compilations, designs, programs, drawings, devices, formulae, or compositions. Not all types of information qualify for protection under the patent and copyright laws; further, specific data arise from a company’s day-to-day operations.
Many businesses are finding it challenging to safeguard their crucial information due to the various online and physical tools available to ease data transfer. The threat they face is external and can also come from internal sources such as employees and contractors who have access to critical business information.
Although India has no specific trade secrets law, Indian courts have upheld trade secrets protection under various statutes, including contract law, copyright law, the principles of equity and – at times – the common law action of breach of confidence (which in effect amounts to a breach of contractual obligation). Section 72 of the Information Technology Act 2000 also provides certain protection, although this is limited to electronic records.
The remedies available to the owners of trade secrets are:
- an injunction preventing a licensee, employee, vendor, or another party from disclosing a trade secret;
- the return of all confidential and proprietary information; and
- compensation for any losses suffered due to the disclosure of trade secrets.
RNA assists clients in all areas of trade secrets protection, including preventing trade secret theft or misappropriation, violations of non-competes, computer fraud, and trade secret audits. The firm has successfully obtained a preliminary injunction for its clients against former employees stealing its trade secrets and starting independent ventures. Other actions have been against contract manufacturers and competitors to misappropriate confidential information.