|Secrets: best when well managed|
Since trade secrets represent assets that do not appear on intellectual property registers, that are hard to protect and difficult to assess and value, they represent a major challenge for IP analytics. They also pose particular problems for corporate IP management: they can be frustratingly tricky to identify and define -- and may be incorporated into the knowledge and skills sets of key employees who leave for other companies.
Trade secret management tools do exist, as Donal explains, and make a big difference not just to the degree of competence in terms of corporate management but also in terms of confidence -- when a company feels that it has a firm grip on the issues raised by trade secrecy and can make and implement its decisions on a more secure, better informed basis.
The case study which Donal has posted involves an innovative company headquartered in Europe but with operations in a dozen countries around the world. As he describes it, the company employs approximately 2,600 people worldwide. It is a market leader in its particular sector. The company's IP function is discharged by just seven people, located in offices in different countries but with the support of external law firms -- factors that can also place stress on trade secrecy policy.
This case study shows that trade secrecy asset management is far from being a hopeless task, so long as care and attention are given to proper processes, reportage and documentation. A follow-up warts-and-all case study is hinted at for 2017. We look forward to reading it.