Trade Secret Protection

Protect the practices and ideas that make your business succeed. A trade secret is something that holds independent economic value that enjoys some measure of secrecy. Trade Secret protection can extend to information, formulas, codes, methods, practices, and a number of other items. Protecting something arms your business with a competitive edge is absolutely essential.

Trade secret law is a unique method of intellectual property protection. Unlike other forms of protection such as patents and copyrights, which require public disclosure of your invention or creation, trade secrets require secrecy. Trade secret is the preferred manner of protection for certain intellectual property, either because a creation is ineligible for other forms of protection or because trade secret law offers some advantage. For example, a patent expires after twenty years, but a trade secret never expires so long as you maintain its secrecy. This is why the Coca-Cola recipe famously remains shielded from copying after more than 100 years. 

Presently, trade secrets are purely a creature of state law, although a much anticipated federal trade secret law is now working its way through Congress. As with any state law the particulars may vary by state, but there is significant uniformity governing the three basic requirements for trade secret protection:

  1. The information is not generally known to the public; 
  2. The information confers an economic benefit from not being generally known by others; and 
  3. The information is the subject of reasonable efforts to maintain its secrecy. 
Our firms has enjoyed success both enforcing and defending against trade secret claims in litigation. As part of our intellectual property consultation services, we regularly advise clients on establishing protocols for maintaining secrecy and enforceability of trade secrets and identifying risk factors with employees, independent contractors and competitors.