Secrets — The Hazel Trade Secret Asset Management Tool aims to help law firms stick better to their existing clients as well as new ones.

Many law firms are looking for new service offerings to take to their existing corporate clients. The ideal new service offering is one which is extremely sticky in nature, i.e., a service that promotes client retention.

So, a new service must not only offer substantial opportunities for increased revenue but it must also help firms retain their clients longer and for more services.

This short paper lists the features and functions which make the Hazel Trade Secret Asset Management tool “sticky” in terms of the interface between a law firm and its corporate clients.

trade secret stickyThe Sub-Licensing Model

The Hazel sub-licensing model allows the law firms to decide whether the tool will be located within the premises of their corporate client or located instead within the firm and run by the law firm on behalf of their client.  In both embodiments, the law firm has effective control over the tool.

White Label Hazel Variant

The Hazel tool can be branded with the name of the legal services provider.  Thus, the client will always know which law firm to contact about the tool when trade secret services are needed.

Branded Reports

The various reports generated by the Hazel tool can be branded with the name of the law firm’s name. In many ways, this is a more interesting feature than the branding of the tool itself, as the reports are likely to be shared more widely within the offices of the corporate client.  These branded reports will serve as a constant reminder of who provides the firm with trade secret services.

Attorney & Firm Details Logged in the Tool

The details of the attorney and law firm advising the corporate client on each trade secret may be stored in the Hazel tool.

Many companies might wonder who is advising them on trade secrets matters? Hazel allows this important information to be captured, broadcast, and constantly re-affirmed.

Trade Secret Reviews

Hazel’s “review meeting” feature encourages corporate clients and their trade secret legal services provider to review each trade secret on a regular basis.

To properly maintain a patent portfolio, it should be periodically and systematically reviewed and rebalanced. This is fairly standard practice inside companies owning patents, for example.

But what about a trade secret portfolio review? Trade secrets should also be periodically and systematically reviewed. After all, trade secrets are perhaps the most valuable assets a company possesses.

Country-Specific Trade Secret Information

Country specific trade secret legislation can be highlighted by the legal services provider using the Hazel tool. This is important given that:

So such country specific information may need to be reviewed and updated from time to time.

Agreements and Contracts Module

The Hazel tool contains a feature allowing all legal agreements associated with each trade secret to be referenced. It also allows the IP terms and conditions within such agreements to be captured

Companies embracing collaborative or open forms of innovation are more likely to be sharing trade secrets. For them managing third party agreements becomes crucial.

trade secretOECD BEPS Compliance

Companies, especially MNEs, have long had complicated tax structures, many of which are entwined with innovative assignment of intangible assets and intellectual property. The OECD BEPS guidelines have been designed to stop aggressive tax avoidance by MNEs and identify the steps to be taken by MNEs going forward.

Given that trade secrets are one of the categories of intangible assets defined by the OECD, the Hazel tool has been designed to be OECD BEPS Compliant from a trade secret asset management perspective.

Different jurisdictions may implement OECD BEPS subtly differently from the guidelines. Hazel has anticipated this possibility by providing MNEs and their legal or financial advisors with a tool to jump start that exercise now.

OECD BEPS guidelines require reports to be submitted to the tax authorities on an annual basis so this is not a one off exercise.

Hazel Tags

The Hazel tools contains a tag feature which allows the legal services providers to define additional fields which it may determine based on unique characteristics of the Firm itself and/or of its operating company client.

Configurable Drop Down Menus

All of the drop down menus spread throughout the Hazel tool are 100% configurable, so may be customized by the legal services provider to suit their specific approach to trade secret asset management.

Trade Secret Metadata

Some operating company clients will lack the skills and competencies, knowledge and experience to manage the Hazel tool and all of the metadata associated with their trade secrets. This provides a clear opportunity for legal services providers to manage this function on their behalf.

HazelGo! to the Rescue

Some companies want to manage their trade secrets better but don’t have the personnel to get started, even when using a tool like Hazel.  Similarly, some law firms can manage their client’s trade secrets using Hazel on an ongoing basis but simply can’t spare the personnel to get a client started – or the client’s pricing point may be too low to make the initial service effective – or the firm can’t dedicate its personnel as fast as the client would like.

HazelGo offers a solution to all these problems by providing a highly qualified team for the short duration needed to make an initial trade secret assessment. HazelGo allows law firms to respond rapidly to client needs. The HazelGo team operates in cooperation with the law firm to satisfy the client’s needs.

The assessment can be performed with, and even under the guidance, of the company’s legal counsel.  This legal counsel can then takeover the continued maintenance of Hazel – plus serving as the beneficiary of all the follow-on work that can come from Hazel related to tax, M&A, litigation, employment, and other functions serviced by the law firm.

Hazel Helps Companies Identify Rank & Protect Their Trade Secrets

The Hazel Trade Secret Asset Management System may help your law firm manage your clients’ trade secrets and trade secret processes. Hazel can keep track of corporate trade secrets and help you determine an appropriate level of protection for each trade secret recorded. Hazel can record who in an organization is responsible for a given trade secret, who is responsible for protecting the trade secret, and who has access to the trade secret, among other things. Hazel can also help with tax issues by noting where a trade secret asset is legally held and what agreements pertain to it. Contact the Hazel Team today to learn more.

For Secrets, I’m Donal O’Connell.


Cover: Scotch Brand Tape by ImprobcatOwn work, CC BY-SA 3.0, Link

Teen taped to a wall at a party by Bruin from Columbus, Ohio, U.S.A. – Flickr.comimage description page, CC BY 2.0, Link

Donal O’Connell operates Chawton Innovation Services, and was formerly vice president of R&D and a director of IP at Nokia. He enjoyed a long career at Nokia for 21 years and has wide and varied experience in the wireless telecoms industry, having worked for periods in The Netherlands, UK, USA, Finland, and HK. Donal is an Adjunct Professor at Imperial College Business School in London, and teaches some elective courses there on IP management, open innovation and the role of IP, as well as services innovation and IP. He graduated from NIHE Limerick (now The University of Limerick) in Ireland in 1985, with a Degree in Electronic Engineering.