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3 elements of trade secrets and how to protect them

On Behalf of | Feb 13, 2023 | Patent Law

Intellectual property is a vital part of any business’s strategy for success. Some organizations hinge their success on their intellectual assets. Unfortunately, they can be left defenseless from misappropriation and theft without the proper precautions.

This is especially true for trade secrets. Similar to other types of intellectual property, they can bring incredible value to a business or organization. However, they are unique because of the following factors:

  • They can retain or potentially foster economic value if kept secret.
  • They are valuable to other entities who cannot access them.
  • They require effort to keep it confidential.

Because of their nature, these secrets are protected by federal and state laws.

The laws that protect them

These laws protect your trade secrets:

  • The Economic Espionage Act of 1996: It applies to two specific situations:
    • When the secret benefits a foreign entity, such as a government, agent or instrumentality
    • When the secret can result in harm to the owner and others if stolen because it is related to goods or services that benefit a broad scope of commerce, including interstate and foreign business
  • Defend Trade Secrets Act of 2016: This policy addresses misappropriation, allowing owners to take legal action in all U.S. courts.
  • Uniform Trade Secrets Act: This law was drafted by the Uniform Law Commission and adopted by 47 states in America, including Kentucky. The state version of this policy enforces a three-year statute of limitations for misappropriation claims.

These laws provide you the right to take action in the event of stolen trade secrets. Additionally, you can implement preventive measures in how you operate your business.

What can I do?

You can utilize non-disclosure and non-compete agreements as safeguards within your business. You can also assess how your business stores and secures information against intellectual property theft. Even if you cannot completely remove the risks, rest assured that the law is on your side, and you can take legal action whenever necessary.