Best Practices

Destruction of Physical IP Material

Creating a Secure Destruction Workflow

  • Designate secure, access-controlled areas or bins for collection of product slated to be destroyed. Base the size of the area/bin on the volume of materials needing to be destroyed and the frequency with which you plan to destroy. An area too small to accommodate a day’s worth of scrap will force overflow into unsecured areas if staff can’t break to destroy items, while an area that’s too large will allow IP material to build up and remain a potential risk should the secure area/bin be compromised.
  • Determine a reasonable timeframe for product slated for destruction to move from an active location to a holding area for destruction, based on environment, and enforce this with staff handling these items.
  • Require a supervisor or manager to witness the destruction process to ensure all slated material is fully destroyed, and none is siphoned intentionally or unintentionally out of the process.
  • Consider requiring a Certificate of Destruction be provided by the entity completing the destruction, whether third party or not. For any third-party document destruction company used, require NAID certification.
  • Locate secure areas or bins for destruction material under CCTV and perform destruction under CCTV if possible.
  • If secure destruction cannot be reasonably guaranteed in a scenario, consider holding materials securely onsite or at a facility managed directly by the licensee until IP is revealed.

Creating a Secure Destruction Workflow

  • Require destruction methods that fully efface the IP present in the materials being destroyed. This may mean a cross-cut shredder for paper that can ensure output contains no readable text, a toothed grinder for plastic that can ensure no output is large enough to contain a recognizable feature, or a burn process for textiles that can ensure only ash remains.
  • Consider the IP implications of all materials generated by the facility when considering segregation for destruction. A single facility may require two or more types of destruction be used, if multiple materials are being used in the facility. This may require separating materials before they are segregated for destruction, so that the destruction process most appropriate can be performed on each material.

Third-Party Destruction

  • Require nondisclosure language to be part of any contract with a third-party destruction provider.
  • If using an offsite, third-party destruction provider, set a cadence of pick-up or drop-off of materials for destruction that accommodates the facility producing materials for destruction.
  • When preparing materials to move to an offsite destruction facility, secure them in sealed or locked bins or wrapped bales so that materials cannot easily be viewed or removed in transit.