Trade Secrets: Comprehensive Protection for Valuable Proprietary Information
Trade secrets encompass information such as formulas, patterns, compilations, programs, devices, methods, techniques, or processes, which derive independent economic value from not being widely known or readily ascertainable by others who might benefit from their disclosure or use. Furthermore, trade secrets are safeguarded by reasonable efforts to maintain their confidentiality.
Efforts to protect trade secrets may include contract doctrines, such as Non-Disclosure Agreements, Licensing Agreements, Work-for-Hire contracts, and Non-Compete Clauses embedded within employee contracts. These doctrines serve to shield trade secrets from misappropriation by holding transgressing parties accountable for breaches of contract or confidence, which, if unaddressed, can culminate in commercial espionage. Notably, misappropriation does not encompass reverse engineering or independent development. Consequently, products that can be readily disassembled and reassembled, such as mechanical items, may not be well-suited for trade secret protection.
The advantages of trade secrets are contingent upon maintaining confidentiality. Once a trade secret is publicly disclosed or published in any form, property rights are irreversibly forfeited. However, if secrecy is preserved, trade secrets do not expire, setting them apart from other forms of intellectual property protection, such as patents.
Our Trade Secret Practice offers a range of services, including:
Sensitive information inventory and audit: Identifying and cataloging valuable proprietary information to ensure its adequate protection.
Developing trade secret policies: Crafting and implementing guidelines to maintain the confidentiality and security of trade secrets within an organization.
Preparing agreements to protect trade secrets: Drafting and negotiating contracts that effectively safeguard proprietary information from unauthorized disclosure or use.