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A Legal Guide to Trade Secrets

On Behalf of | Apr 1, 2023 | Business

A trade secret is any information that gives a company a competitive advantage because it is not easily discernible or generally known. Trade secrets are unique types of intellectual property assets. as a company, you are not required to register your trade secrets, and they do not expire. However, you are required to keep the trade secrets confidential and take steps to secure trade secrets.

How to Protect Trade Secrets

Companies can protect their trade secrets and prevent losses in several different ways. The responsibility for protecting trade secrets is on the company. Establishing clear guidelines for your proprietary information allows you to enforce your rights. To avoid legal issues involving trade secrets, work with an attorney who can help you establish protocols to allow for swift, decisive legal action.

Security Measures

To enforce your trade secret rights as a business, you must show that you have taken reasonable measures to protect your trade secrets. Putting safeguards in place keeps sensitive information from leaking out, but it also establishes the existence and value of your trade secrets. Doing so can be crucial to protecting your trade secrets in court. The Uniform Trade Secret Act (UTSA) requires owners of trade secrets to take protective measures that are reasonable under the circumstances to keep the trade secret information secret. However, the term ‘reasonable’ is not defined.

When courts consider whether a company has taken reasonable steps to protect its trademarks, they generally engage in a case-by-case approach that relies heavily on the facts. companies can protect themselves by taking clear actions and implementing specific policies to protect their trade secrets.

Non-Disclosure Agreements

Asking employees to sign a non-disclosure agreement is one of several ways to show that you are taking reasonable measures to protect your trade secrets. Anytime a company hires someone or does business with someone from another company or organization, they may have to reveal facts regarding their company’s inner workings. In doing so, trade secret information could leak outside of the company. Using non-disclosure agreements can set forth legal consequences for anyone who shares information.

Non-Compete Agreements

Another way to protect your trade secrets is to require select employees who may need to know company secrets to perform their jobs to sign a covenant not to compete. A non-compete agreement prohibits individuals from using your proprietary information, or trade secrets, for their own purposes after your company no longer employs them. Non-disclosure agreements and covenants not to compete can be enforced by courts. Still, it is crucial that they are well-written by an experienced attorney to avoid being considered unconscionably unfair to employees.

The Defend Trade Secrets Act

Congress passed the Defend Trade Secrets Act in 2016. purpose of this legislation was to establish uniform protection for trade secrets across the United States. Under this law, trade secret owners have a federal cause of action when their trade secrets have been misappropriated. The law defines a trade secret as any information with a commercial value because it is not widely known or easily detected. If you have been the victim of a trade secret theft, you have a right to sue the company or companies who engaged in the theft. The court has a right to prohibit the exploitation of the improperly obtained trade secret.

You can also pursue monetary damages you have incurred from the theft, such as company losses. Plaintiffs can also pursue compensation for the defendant’s unjust enrichment due to using their trade secrets. You only have limited time to pursue legal action under the Defend Trade Secrets Act. After the trade secret has been released to the public, it could lose its value. For that reason, it is crucial that you discuss your case with an attorney as soon as possible, so you can complete your deadline to file a claim and protect your trade secret. Working with an experienced attorney can help you implement protocols that enforce safety and lay the groundwork for future legal action to protect yourself and your trade secrets.

Trade Secret Litigation

Trade secret litigation has become more common in recent years. The trade secret litigators areAU LLC prepared to quickly and effectively help clients prosecute or defend against various trade secret allegations and claims. We have experience successfully representing clients in high-stakes litigation and on appeal.

Employment Trade Secret Litigation

AtAU LLC, our intellectual property attorneys routinely investigate, pursue, and defend trade secret misappropriation allegations from employees with special skills and high-level executives. If you are facing trade secret litigation in an employment context, it is crucial that you quickly mobilize and reach out to an attorney. An attorney can help you protect your most valuable intangible assets. If you are considering bringing a trade secret litigation claim, such as one for breach of fiduciary duty, we can help you do so along with a trade secret claim.

Corporate Disputes Involving Trade Secrets

Trade secrets have become a powerful tool in business litigation between parties involved in complex commercial disputes and between competitors. This is especially true in the services and technology industries. In many cases, trade secret litigation involves other business claims, such as fraud or breach of contract. The intellectual property attorneys at AU LLC have extensive experience trying and winning trade secret claims related to software and hardware design in conjunction with patent claims.

The Benefits of Working With a Trademark Attorney

If you are involved in trade secret litigation or considering bringing a claim related to trade secrets, hiring an experienced intellectual property attorney is crucial. AtAU LLC, we understand the sensitive nature of trade secret allegations and know how to conduct confidential, comprehensive investigations for our clients when trade secret misappropriation is suspected. We can also help you understand risk management policies to protect your trade secrets.

Questions About Protecting Your Trade Secrets? Contact a Skilled Trade Secret Attorney

When you are facing trade secret litigation, it is crucial that you work with a seasoned professional in trade secret law who can provide you with legal counsel to resolve the matter quickly, confidentially, and quietly. If the matter does proceed to trial, our trial-ready attorneys will be prepared to advocate for you through litigation. Whether you are involved in trade secret litigation or have questions about protecting your proprietary information, contactAU LLC to discuss your case with a skilled attorney.