Why Protect a
Trade Secret?
Legal experts agree that trade secrets are of great and increas-
ing importance to the U.S. economy. The estimated value of trade
secret information in the United States is a staggering $5 trillion.1
Trade secrets represent the vast majority of U.S. intellectual prop-
erty.2 Trade secret protection can extend beyond the coverage of
federally defined statutory forms of intellectual property, such as
patents, trademarks, and copyrights, to virtually all competitively
sensitive and confidential information at relatively little cost.
Corporations spend billions of dollars to protect their trade
secrets. In 2010, nearly half of the businesses responding to the
Computer S ecur ity In stitute’s 15th annua l Computer Crime and
Security Survey dedicated more than 5 percent of their intellectual
technology budgets to protecting confidential electronic informa-
tion.3 The magnitude of this undertaking is not surprising. Studies
indicate that billions of dollars are lost each year as a result of trade
secret theft. Indeed, in its 2002 annual report to the U.S. Congress,
the Office of the National Counterintelligence Executive reported
$300 billion in losses as the result of industrial espionage.4 Other
studies have also reported losses in the billions, including studies
conducted by PricewaterhouseCoopers and ASIS.5
At the same time, trade secret litigation is increasing at a phe-
nomenal rate. A 2008 study revealed that the number of trade
secret cases brought or removed to federal court doubled in the
seven years from 1988 to 1995 and again in the nine years between

To continue reading

Request your trial

VLEX uses login cookies to provide you with a better browsing experience. If you click on 'Accept' or continue browsing this site we consider that you accept our cookie policy. ACCEPT