The Uniform Trade Secrets Act has been adopted in a number of states. That law protects certain business information from misappropriation if information meets certain requirements. In general, to qualify as a “Trade Secret,” the information must be valuable because it is not generally know or easily discoverable and the business takes reasonable steps to keep the information secret.
Not Generally Known
A business may not claim that information is a trade secret where persons outside the business, without permission from the business, possess the same information. For example, the fact that combining carbonated water and flavoring and bottling the drink is not a trade secret of any business because it is common knowledge. But the exact recipe for leading soft drinks is very valuable because the exact ingredients are not known and are not easily discoverable.
Protection of Secrets
If a business does not act diligently to protect its secrets, they can no longer be considered trade secrets. Allowing visitors to a plant to see a secret process at work without signing a confidentiality agreement or keeping information on a computer network freely accessible to a large number of people can jeopardize the protected status of such information.
Where theft of trade secrets has occurred or is threatened, a business may be able to obtain an injunction against use of the information, require payment of a reasonable royalty or obtain damages as compensation for lost sales or other injury resulting from the theft. If the misappropriation of trade secrets was willful and malicious, punitive damages and attorneys’ fees may also be awarded.
Our Trade Secrets Attorneys have prosecuted and defended suits for misappropriation of trade secrets and can advise you on the best strategy for your particular litigation. Contact Bill Cannon for more information about Trade Secret Litigation.