Trade Secret Protocols Not Followed: Wikileaks

This week’s disclosures by Wikileaks of hundreds of thousands of classified, secret documents is a stark reminder of the admonitions that we trade secrets lawyers have been saying for years:  It is not enough to have protocols to protect your secrets – the protocols must be followed.

According to recent accounts of the incident (see here), an Army private (Bradley Manning) was able to download the quarter of a million secret documents by copying them onto a Lady Gaga music CD he had burned at home and a memory stick. Although protocols that supposedly would have identified his activities were in place, the protocols we reportedly not followed.

So, what now? Take heed. Make sure you have appropriate protections in place and then follow them. For a summary of the proper protections see The Who, What, Where, When, How, and Why of Trade Secret Audits and (soon to be on-line) What you need to know about protecting trade secrets in New England In-House (November 2010 issue).