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Mid-market companies in need of instructive examples of robust intellectual property protection strategies can learn from their peers in the information technology industry.
At Limelight Networks Inc., a Tempe, Ariz.-based software developer with 511 employees and approximately $173 million in annual revenue, the company's patents, trademarks, trade secrets and other intangible assets are overseen by its senior intellectual property corporate counsel, Dion Messer.
“That probably does make us a bit unusual, because it's not often that a company this small has its own IP counsel in-house,” Ms. Messer said.
To safeguard the company's intellectual assets, she said Limelight Networks requires employees to sign nondisclosure agreements covering a range of information and materials, including financial records, sales and marketing plans, source coding and customer-related information.
“I think that's our strongest protection measure,” Ms. Messer said, though she said that merely having a policy in place is unlikely to prevent employees from misappropriating trade secrets and confidential information.
“You have to provide continual training to remind them of what they've agreed to in their employment contracts, and we do that,” she said.
The company conducts yearly training sessions with its software development staff focusing on registered and unregistered intellectual property, and holds regular educational meetings with employees about their obligations under the company's information security policies, which she updates annually.
“We also protect our trade secrets by limiting access to that kind of information to just the employees that need to know about it,” Ms. Messer said. “It's not disseminated throughout the company, or available on any drives or databases that anyone in the company can access.”
Mid-market companies often safeguard their federally registered intellectual property such as patents, trademarks and copyrighted materials, but fail to protect their often equally valuable trade secrets and confidential corporate information.