Trade Secrets

AuthorDavid R. Gerk - John M. Fleming
P A R T 5
Trade Secrets
I believe in rules. Sure I do. If there weren’t any rules, how could
you break them?
—Leo Durocher
Major League Baseball infielder/manager,
Member, Baseball Hall of Fame
A trade secret can be any confidential information that has value to an
entity because it provides that entity with a competitive advantage. This
confidential information of value can take many forms including a for-
mula, pattern, compilation, program, device, method, technique or pro-
cess. Not all entities that make valuable commercial advances choose to,
or are able to, protect these commercial advances utilizing the patent
system. Instead, the entity may prefer to keep the discovery confidential
and rely on the protection provided to the innovation as a trade secret. As
such, trade secrets provide a varied and desirable mechanism to protect
certain developments and information. While most intellectual property
laws involve rights tied to already public information, or at least infor-
mation that becomes public in exchange for the grant of rights such as in
patents, trade secret law protects nonpublic or secret information.
While other types of intellectual property are protected under a fed-
eral system, trade secret law is generally provided for under a quilt of
varied trade secret laws each enacted individually at the state level, many
of which are based on the provisions set forth in the Uniform Trade
Secrets Act (UTSA). The UTSA codified the basic principles of com-
Part 5

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