In Seyfarth’s final webinar in its series of 2017 Trade Secrets Webinars, Seyfarth attorneys Justin Beyer, Dawn Mertineit, and Ryan Behndleman presented Protecting Trade Secrets in the Social Media Age. The panel focused on how to define and protect trade secrets on social media.

As a conclusion to this well-received webinar, we compiled a summary of takeaways:

  • By allowing social media in the workplace, companies are exposed to multiple risks, including the theft of confidential information and potential embarrassment to the company. It is imperative that companies craft a social media policy that will not only protect the company, but will also work within the company’s individual structure.
  • In defining an employee’s obligations as it relates to social media usage, companies should make sure they have policies in place (as well as a provision in any employment agreements) regarding the ownership of company social media accounts. Having clear, written policies and agreements can eliminate or reduce the need for costly and time-consuming litigation to determine who owns company-related social media presences.
  • Finally, due to the concern about employer involvement in an employee’s social media presence, employers should be mindful to abide by direction provided by state legislation as well as the National Labor Relation Board’s interpretation of what constitutes improper interference in speech activities. Because of this, it is important to craft any social media policy with a view toward protecting company assets and reputation, without being perceived to infringe on the speech or privacy rights of employees.