Internet & E-Commerce Services
Protecting Your Trade Secret and Supporting Your Online Business
- URL registration and dispute resolution
- Social Networking
- B2B portal websites
- Website Usage Terms and Conditions
- Web content licenses
- Digital Millennium Copyright Act Compliance
- Content licensing agreements
- Privacy issues
- Sponsorship and event agreements
- Trade Secret and domain name clearance
Trade secrets are the fourth type of intellectual property, in addition to patents, trademarks, and copyrights. Trade secrets consist of information and can include a formula, know-how, practice, pattern, design, instrument, compilation, program, device, method, technique, or process not generally known or reasonably ascertainable by others, which allow an entity or business to obtain an economic advantage over competitors. To meet the most common definition of a trade secret, it must be used in business, and give an opportunity to obtain an economic advantage over competitors who do not know or use it. Broadly speaking, any confidential business information, which provides an enterprise a competitive edge may be considered a trade secret. There are three factors common to definitions of trade secret namely, (1) A trade secret is not generally known to the public; (2) A trade secret confers an economic advantage or benefit on its holder because the information is not publicly known; and (3) To maintain the secrecy of the trade secret, the holder exercises reasonable efforts.
The precise language by which a trade secret is defined varies by jurisdiction, as do the particular types of information that are subject to trade secret protection. However, clearly unfair practices with respect to secret information include industrial or commercial espionage, breach of contract, and breach of confidence.
How Are Trade Secrets Protected?
Contrary to patents, trade secrets are protected without registration, that is, trade secrets are protected without any procedural formalities. Consequently, a trade secret can be protected for an unlimited period of time. For these reasons, the protection of trade secrets may appear to be particularly attractive for SMEs (small-medium enterprises). There are, however, some conditions for the information to be considered a trade secret. Compliance with such conditions may turn out to be more difficult and costly than it would appear at first glance.
On Wednesday, May 11, 2016, President Barack Obama signed into law the Defend Trade Secrets Act (DTSA) of 2016. DTSA amends chapter 90 of title 18, United States Code (commonly known as the “Espionage Act of 1996”) to provide federal jurisdiction for the theft of trade secrets “if the trade secret is related to a product or service used in, or intended for use in interstate or foreign commerce.” Specifically, 18 USC §1836 authorizes federal civil proceedings for misappropriation of a trade secret by employees as well as foreign entities. Prior to that day, trade secret protection was a matter of state law, except in New York and Massachusetts, which adopted some version of the Uniform Trade Secrets Act (‘UTSA”). DTSA does not preempt state law or any other provision of law. The salient provisions of the law are among others, treble damages, immunity for confidential disclosure to the government (whistleblower) or to an attorney, notice of immunity to employees, anti-retaliation lawsuit, ex-parte seizure order, injunctive relief, exemplary damages. A defense to a claim of trade secret misappropriation includes reverse engineering, independent derivation, or any other lawful means of acquisition.
We counsel clients on trade secrets matters such as:
- Reviewing trade secret policies for misappropriation;
- Trade secret prior use;
- Trade secret conversion;
- Drafting trade secret protection policies.
- Design Patent: D627,954
- Simple Mechanical Patent: 8,585,092
- Medium Complexity Wireless Patent: 9,621,340
Trade Secret Applications
- How is your Trade Secret Protected? We can help you –
- Important measures to be Taken by your Attorney
- Patents or Trade Secrets – which one?