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Introducing “Hazel” a Trade Secrets–Management Solution

Last week I had the opportunity to receive a compelling demonstration of a Trade Secrets Management program called, “Hazel”, by Donal O’Connell, the Owner and Managing Director of Chawton Innovation Services Ltd, Chawton, United Kingdom.

WHAT IS HAZEL?

“Hazel” is a comprehensive and accessible trade secrets management tool that makes it possible to identify and track an entity’s IP and trade secrets.

This tool is suited for companies of all sizes, including IP intelligence and law firms working to advance the protection of a company’s IP.

WHAT IS THE HAZEL CONCEPT?

It would be impossible for me to effectively explain all the features provided on Hazel’s wide-ranging platform, however, it should suffice to say that Hazel is designed to provide a business with essentially a library-like catalog of their trade secrets.

This means that a company (at any given time) knows what trade secrets they have in their virtual or tangible inventory; can name it, retrieve it, knows its history, who created it, who’s responsible for it, who has access to it, whose borrowed it, and knows when its access has expired.

Essentially–after the trade secret has been identified, recorded and updated in the Hazel program–the trade secrets owner then knows its “status.”

WHAT? – WHY? – WHERE? – WHEN? – HOW? – WHO?

To wrap our heads around the capacity of this trade secrets management tool, it is useful to consider the assessment approach commonly used by members of law enforcement to grasp various dimensions of a particular issue and apply it to trade secrets management as follows:

  • What – What is the trade secret?
  • Why – Why is it a trade secret?
  • Where – Where is the trade secret?
  • When – When was the trade secret created? 
  • How – How is the trade secret being accounted for?
  • Who – Who is responsible for the protection of the trade secret and who has access to it?

PROVENANCE OF THE TRADE SECRET

To coin a term traditionally used in the world of fine art, what Hazel makes possible (after the trade secrets metadata is recorded) is to bring-to-light the “provenance” (a.k.a. history) of the trade secret.

USER FRIENDLY

The Hazel platform is organized in a systematic and accessible manner. Each of the categories of the dashboard is clearly marked making it a straightforward process to insert information.

And, Hazel does not require extensive training in order to make effective use of its platform. As someone that has used the IBM i2 Analyst Notebook, the Hazel platform is comprehensive as well but doesn’t require a week of training to use.

I found that after receiving Mr. O’Connell’s demonstration, I would be able to jump right in and get to work with only an additional hour or two of orientation.

WHERE DOES A HAZEL USER START?

Mr. O’Connell explained that it is not unusual for a client to not know how to begin to identify their trade secrets. In this new world of accounting for trade secrets, this is not surprising.

To get oriented with the tool, Hazel provides a list of areas for the client to consider in identifying its trade secrets.

DOES HAZEL STORE THE TRADE SECRETS?

No.

Hazel’s purpose is to help a business identify their trade secrets, account for its location within the company structure, and track its history, development, and movement going forward.

WHAT IP HOLDERS SHOULD CONSIDER HAZEL?

During the demonstration, Mr. O’Connell explained that he has found there are three (3) categories of users driven to use the Hazel platform:

  1. Victims of trade secrets theft
  2. Entities concerned at becoming a victim; and
  3. Companies that are jittery about the state of their trade secrets

NECESSITY OF A TRADE SECRETS MANAGEMENT PROGRAM

If you do not feel jittery enough about the risks of non-managed trade secrets read, “A Lack of Focus On Trade Secrets Can Pose Serious Risks”, recently posted on IP Watchdog by James Pooley, Esq.

Here are two quotes from Pooley’s article as it relates to managing trade secrets in the M&A environment:

“The problem appears to start with the fact that secret information, no matter how central to the success of the business, is mysterious. Unlike the “registered rights” of patent, copyright and trademark, there are no government certificates defining secrets; and valuing them is hard. Add to that the imperative to get deals done faster and cheaper, and it’s easy to see how secrecy may have become the blind spot of transactional IP.”

“In many cases I was surprised to learn that trade secrets are not even on the list, crowded out by the “registered” IP rights—patents, trademarks and copyrights—that can be counted and (presumably) more easily valued. And where trade secrets are included, it tends to be a cameo appearance…”

FINAL THOUGHTS

Hazel makes it possible for businesses to know with certainty what their trade secrets are and how to maintain its control. It is no longer necessary for companies to suffer from terminal “vagueness” as to what their trade secrets are and its “real-time” status.

For more information about “Hazel” visit their website.

To learn more about Donal O’Connell, visit his LinkedIn page.

Disclaimer: IPPIBlog.com is offered as a service to the professional IP community. While every effort has been made to check information in this blog, we provide no guarantees or warranties, express or implied, with regard to content provided in IPPIBlog.com. We disclaim any and all liability and responsibility for the qualification or accuracy of representations made by the contributors or for any disputes that may arise. It is the responsibility of the readers to independently investigate and verify the credentials of such person and the accuracy and validity of the information provided by them. This blog is provided for general information purposes only and is not intended to provide legal or other professional advice.

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Ron Alvarez is an IP Investigations / Protection writer and licensed private investigator in New York City. He is a former NYPD lieutenant where he investigated robbery, narcotics, internal affairs, and fine art theft cases. Ron is a graduate of the FBI National Academy and earned a B.A. in Government and Public Administration from John Jay College of Criminal Justice in Manhattan. He has published a number of articles on various investigative topics for PI Magazine. Ron is certified by the Interpol-International IP Crime Investigators College (IIPCIC.) as a "Transnational and Organized Crime Intellectual Property (IP) Investigator."

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