What is a Trade Secret?
Successful businesses have their own unique products or processes that set them apart from competitors. Businesses must protect the things that make them special in order to maintain their competitive advantage.
Much of the proprietary information that belongs to a business is considered trade secrets. The law provides protection for trade secrets, which are a very important form of intellectual property. Employees can be required to keep trade secrets confidential and not to turn around and sell those secrets on the open market or give them to a competitor. Companies have legal remedies whenever there is a threat that trade secrets will get out, including an injunction to prevent the release of information or a claim for monetary damages when a secret is shared unlawfully.
Your business needs to do everything possible to protect the trade secrets that are valuable to your organization. The Irvine intellectual property lawyers at Brown & Charbonneau, LLP can help you to take steps to protect your proprietary information. We can assist in the drafting and enforcement of agreements to protect trade secrets and we can help you to file a lawsuit and put the legal system to work in protecting your business interests. To learn more about how we can help, give us a call today.
What is a Trade Secret
The Uniform Trade Secrets Act (UTSA) is a model law that establishes the definition of a trade secret and the elements of a trade secret claim. The USTA has been enacted in some form by 40 states in the United States as well as within the District of Columbia. Prior to the adoption of the USTA, companies were still able to take legal action to protect their trade secrets and to seek legal remedies when their secrets were revealed. Common law provided a tort remedy for improper use or disclosure of trade secrets before the adoption of USTA.
USTA defines trade secrets in a similar manner as traditional tort laws did. According to the USTA definition, a trade secret is “information, including a formula, pattern, compilation, program, device, method, technique, or process” that derives some type of independent actual or potential economic value because it is not widely known. Efforts also must be made to maintain the secrecy of the proprietary information in order for it to be considered a trade secret.
Factors that may be considered in determining whether something is a trade secret include:
- Whether the information is known outside the business, and how widely it is known.
- The extent to which employees of the company know the trade secret.
- The measures used to guard and protect the trade secret.
- The value the secret has both to the business and to competitors.
- The amount of money or effort that the company expended in the development of the secret information.
- How difficult it would be to obtain the information or duplicate the information.
Trade secrets are given strong protections because of their economic value. An Irvine trade secrets lawyer at Brown & Charbonneau, LLP will provide advice and assistance in protecting your company’s secrets. Give us a call today to learn more.