A trade secret is any proprietary information that serves as advantage over competitors and is kept secret. It is broadly defined and can range from a manufacturing process to software coding.
What factors are considered when determining whether a trade secret has been infringed?
The owner of the trade secret must prove that the alleged confidential information provided a competitive advantage, the information was maintained in secrecy and the information was improperly acquired or disclosed by the defendant.
What are my rights if someone infringes my trade secret?
A lawsuit may be brought under federal or state law depending upon the circumstances. Under the Economic Espionage Act, individuals can be fined up to $500,000, and corporations can be fined up to $5,000,000 plus possible jail time for trade secret infringement. Several states have also enacted laws making it a crime to infringe upon or steal a trade secret.
Are there applicable state or common laws?
Many states also have their own trade secret legislation which should be considered when developing your policy.