Russell Beck and Erika Hahn‘s article about strategies to protect trade secrets while office employees are largely working from home was recently published by Massachusetts Lawyers Weekly.

Their article, titled “Protecting trade secrets during and after stay-at-home orders,” provides practical steps for establishing a proper trade secret protection program (TSPP).

According to the article, “[t]he ability to protect trade secrets (and other legitimate business interests, including customer goodwill) has been hit by a perfect storm caused by the current coronavirus pandemic.” Beck and Hahn explain that,

At its core, a trade secret protection program is a set of protocols to protect a company’s confidential information — protocols that are not only expected by courts, but, more important, protocols that are designed to prevent the misappropriation of a company’s information in the first place.

While “reasonable” efforts are the legal touchstone for protecting trade secrets, that mandate should not be the motivation. Rather, effective and efficient prevention of misappropriation should be the lodestar.

Few trade secrets are like Coca-Cola, requiring heroic measures for their protection. In most instances, companies can achieve a reasonable balance, preventing misappropriation while enabling employees to use the company’s information for legitimate business purposes.

The goal should be to ensure that protecting the information is the easy path. If the balance tips too far toward preventing misappropriation, making it difficult for employees to get their work done efficiently, they will find a workaround. In contrast, the less resistance, the more likely compliance will happen naturally.

Massachusetts Lawyers Weekly

In the article, Russell and Erika outline specific steps for the establishment of a trade secret protection program, including the following:

Step 1: Understand the landscape

Step 2: Evaluate and update protections

Step 3: Evaluate third-party implications

Step 4: Special considerations in connection with work-from-home (WFH) and other remote work environments

Step 5: Communicate and reinforce expectations

Step 6: Monitor compliance

Step 7: Exit practices and procedures

Step 8: When all else fails, have a plan and implement it

For up-to-the-minute analysis of legal issues concerning noncompete agreements in Massachusetts and across the United States, read Russell Beck’s blog, Fair Competition Law.

eck Reed Riden LLP is among the leading authorities in trade secret, noncompete, and unfair competition law, and our experience handling these matters is backed by our extensive employment law and business litigation experience. Our hand-picked team combines attorneys with complementary expertise and practical experience.

The Wall Street Journal featured Beck Reed Riden LLP’s noncompete agreement experience. In 2016, the White House issued a report entitled, “Non-Compete Agreements: Analysis of the Usage, Potential Issues, and State Responses,” relying in part on Beck Reed Riden LLP’s research and analysis, including its 50 State Noncompete Survey.

Russell Beck’s work in this area is well recognized, and includes:

  • Over twenty five years of working on trade secret, noncompete, and unfair competition matters
  • Assisting the Obama White House as part of a small working group to develop President Obama’s Noncompete Call to Action
  • Authoring the book Negotiating, Drafting, and Enforcing Noncompetition Agreements and Related Restrictive Covenants (5th ed., MCLE, Inc. 2015), used by other lawyers to help them with their noncompete matters
  • Authoring the book Trade Secrets Law for the Massachusetts Practitioner (1st ed. MCLE 2019), covering trade secrets nationally, with a focus on Massachusetts law
  • Drafting and advising on legislation for the Massachusetts Legislature to define, codify, and improve noncompetition law
  • Teaching Trade Secrets and Restrictive Covenants at Boston University School of Law
  • Founding and administrating the award-winning blog, Fair Competition Law
  • Establishing and administrating the Noncompete Lawyers and Trade Secret Protection groups on LinkedIn, with over 1,600 members around the world
  • Founded and chaired the Trade Secret / Noncompete Practice for an AmLaw 100 firm

In addition, Russell was honored for his work in this area of law in the 2019 Chambers USA Guide, which stated that Russell Beck is a “terrific” attorney, who “is an excellent choice of counsel regarding noncompete agreements and the resolution of restrictive covenant disputes.” Chambers noted that Russell “basically wrote the new Massachusetts statute on noncompetes” and that “he’s an expert in employee mobility and nonrestrictive covenants.”

Beck Reed Riden LLP is Boston’s innovative litigation boutique. Our lawyers have years of experience working with clients ranging from Fortune 500 companies to start-ups and individuals. We focus on business litigation and employment. We are experienced litigators and counselors, helping our clients as business partners to resolve issues and develop strategies that best meet our clients’ legal and business needs – before, during, and after litigation. We’re ready to roll up our sleeves and help you. Read more about us, the types of matters we handle, and what we can do for you here.