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Trade secrets are a type of
intellectual property Intellectual property (IP) is a category of property Property is a system of rights that gives people legal control of valuable things, and also refers to the valuable things themselves. Depending on the nature of the property, an owner o ...
that comprise
formula In science Science () is a systematic enterprise that Scientific method, builds and organizes knowledge in the form of Testability, testable explanations and predictions about the universe."... modern science is a discovery as well a ...

formula
s, practices,
process A process is a series or set of activities that interact to produce a result; it may occur once-only or be recurrent or periodic. Things called a process include: Business and management *Business process A business process, business method ...
es,
design A design is a plan or specification for the construction of an object or system or for the implementation of an activity or process, or the result of that plan or specification in the form of a prototype A prototype is an early sample, mode ...

design
s,
instrument Instrument may refer to: Science and technology * Flight instruments two-seat light airplane. The flight instruments are visible on the left of the instrument panel Flight instruments are the instruments in the cockpit of an aircraft that pro ...
s,
pattern A pattern is a regularity in the world, in human-made design, or in abstract ideas. As such, the elements of a pattern repeat in a predictable manner. A geometric pattern is a kind of pattern formed of geometric Geometry (from the grc, ...

pattern
s, or compilations of information that have inherent
economic value In economics Economics () is a social science that studies the Production (economics), production, distribution (economics), distribution, and Consumption (economics), consumption of goods and services. Economics focuses on the beh ...
because they are not generally known or readily ascertainable by others, and which the owner takes reasonable measures to keep secret. In some
jurisdiction Jurisdiction (from Latin Latin (, or , ) is a classical language A classical language is a language A language is a structured system of communication Communication (from Latin ''communicare'', meaning "to share" or "to be i ...
s, such secrets are referred to as
confidential information Confidentiality involves a set of rules or a promise usually executed through confidentiality agreements that limits access or places restrictions on certain types of information Information is processed, organised and structured data ...
.


Definition

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. Three factors are common to all such definitions: A trade secret is information that * is not generally known to the public; * confers economic benefit on its holder ''because'' the information is not publicly known; and * where the holder makes reasonable efforts to maintain its secrecy. In international law, these three factors define a trade secret under article 39 of the
Agreement on Trade-Related Aspects of Intellectual Property Rights The Agreement on Trade-Related Aspects of Intellectual Property Rights (TRIPS) is an international legal agreement between all the member nations of the World Trade Organization The World Trade Organization (WTO) is an intergovernmental ...
, commonly referred to as the TRIPS Agreement. Similarly, in the United States
Economic Espionage Act of 1996 The Economic Espionage Act of 1996 () was a 6 title Act of Congress An Act of Congress is a statute enacted by United States Congress, Congress. Acts can affect only individual entities (called private laws), or the general public (public laws). ...
, "A trade secret, as defined under (3)(A),(B) (1996), has three parts: (1) information; (2) reasonable measures taken to protect the information; and (3) which derives independent economic value from not being publicly known."


Value

Trade secrets are an important, but invisible component of a company's
intellectual property Intellectual property (IP) is a category of property Property is a system of rights that gives people legal control of valuable things, and also refers to the valuable things themselves. Depending on the nature of the property, an owner o ...
(IP). Their contribution to a company's value, measured as its
market capitalization Market capitalization, commonly called market cap, is the market value of a publicly traded company A public company, publicly traded company, publicly held company, publicly listed company, or public limited company A public limited compan ...
, can be major. Being invisible, that contribution is hard to measure. Still, research shows that changes in trade secrets laws affect business spending on R&D and patents. This research provides indirect evidence of the value of trade secrecy.


Protection

In contrast to registered intellectual property, trade secrets are, by definition, not disclosed to the world at large. Instead, owners of trade secrets seek to protect trade secret information from competitors by instituting special procedures for handling it, as well as technological and legal security measures. Legal protections include
non-disclosure agreement #REDIRECT Non-disclosure agreement#REDIRECT Non-disclosure agreement A non-disclosure agreement (NDA), also known as a confidentiality agreement (CA), confidential disclosure agreement (CDA), proprietary information agreement (PIA) or secrecy agre ...
s (NDAs), and
work-for-hire In the copyright Copyright is a type of intellectual property Intellectual property (IP) is a category of property Property is a system of rights that gives people legal control of valuable things, and also refers to the valuable thi ...
and
non-compete clause In contract A contract is a legally binding agreement that defines and governs the rights and duties between or among its parties Image:'Hip, Hip, Hurrah! Artist Festival at Skagen', by Peder Severin Krøyer (1888) Demisted with DXO PhotoLab ...
s. In other words, in exchange for an opportunity to be employed by the holder of secrets, an employee may sign agreements to not reveal their prospective employer's proprietary information, to surrender or assign to their employer ownership rights to intellectual work and work-products produced during the course (or as a condition) of employment, and to not work for a competitor for a given period of time (sometimes within a given geographic region). Violation of the agreement generally carries the possibility of heavy financial penalties which operate as a disincentive to reveal trade secrets. However, proving a breach of an NDA by a former stakeholder who is legally working for a competitor or prevailing in a lawsuit for breaching a non-compete clause can be very difficult. A holder of a trade secret may also require similar agreements from other parties he or she deals with, such as vendors, licensees, and board members. As a company can protect its confidential information through NDA, work-for-hire, and non-compete contracts with its stakeholders (within the constraints of employment law, including only restraint that is reasonable in geographic- and time-scope), these protective contractual measures effectively create a perpetual monopoly on secret information that does not expire as would a
patent A patent is a type of intellectual property Intellectual property (IP) is a category of property Property is a system of rights that gives people legal control of valuable things, and also refers to the valuable things themselves. Depe ...

patent
or
copyright Copyright is a type of intellectual property Intellectual property (IP) is a category of property Property is a system of rights that gives people legal control of valuable things, and also refers to the valuable things themselves. ...

copyright
. The lack of formal protection associated with registered intellectual property rights, however, means that a third party not bound by a signed agreement is not prevented from independently duplicating and using the secret information once it is discovered, such as through
reverse engineering Reverse engineering (also known as backwards engineering or back engineering) is a process or method through the application of which one attempts to understand through deductive reasoning Deductive reasoning, also deductive logic, is the process ...

reverse engineering
. Therefore, trade secrets such as secret formulae are often protected by restricting the key information to a few trusted individuals. Famous examples of products protected by trade secrets are
Chartreuse liqueur Chartreuse (, , ) is a French liqueur A liqueur (; ; ) is an alcoholic drink composed of Liquor, distilled spirits and additional flavorings such as sugar, fruits, herbs, and spices. Often served with or after dessert, they are typically h ...
and
Coca-Cola Coca-Cola, or Coke, is a carbonated Carbonation is the chemical reaction A chemical reaction is a process that leads to the chemical transformation of one set of chemical substances to another. Classically, chemical A chemical sub ...

Coca-Cola
. Because protection of trade secrets can, in principle, extend indefinitely, it therefore may provide an advantage over patent protection and other registered intellectual property rights, which last only for a specific duration. The Coca-Cola company, for example, has no patent for the formula of Coca-Cola and has been effective in protecting it for many more years than the 20 years of protection that a patent would have provided. In fact, Coca-Cola refused to reveal its trade secret under at least two judges' orders.


Misappropriation

Companies often try to discover one another's trade secrets through lawful methods of
reverse engineering Reverse engineering (also known as backwards engineering or back engineering) is a process or method through the application of which one attempts to understand through deductive reasoning Deductive reasoning, also deductive logic, is the process ...

reverse engineering
or employee poaching on one hand, and potentially unlawful methods including
industrial espionage Industrial espionage, economic espionage, corporate spying or corporate espionage is a form of espionage Espionage or spying is the act of obtaining secret Secrecy is the practice of hiding information Information can be thought ...
on the other. Acts of industrial espionage are generally illegal in their own right under the relevant governing laws, and penalties can be harsh. The importance of that illegality to trade secret law is: if a trade secret is acquired by improper means (a somewhat wider concept than "illegal means" but inclusive of such means), then the secret is generally deemed to have been ''misappropriated''. Thus, if a trade secret has been acquired via industrial espionage, its acquirer will probably be subject to legal liability for having acquired it improperly⁠ ⁠— this notwithstanding, the holder of the trade secret is nevertheless obliged to protect against such espionage to some degree in order to safeguard the secret, as under most trade secret regimes, a trade secret is not deemed to exist unless its purported holder takes reasonable steps to maintain its secrecy.


History


Roman law

Commentators starting with A. Arthur Schiller assert that trade secrets were protected under
Roman law Roman law is the law, legal system of ancient Rome, including the legal developments spanning over a thousand years of jurisprudence, from the Twelve Tables (c. 449 BC), to the ''Corpus Juris Civilis'' (AD 529) ordered by Eastern Roman emperor J ...
by a claim known as , interpreted as an "action for making a slave worse" (or an action for corrupting a servant). The Roman law is described as follows:
e Roman owner of a mark or firm name was legally protected against unfair usage by a competitor through the ''actio servi corrupti'' ... which the Roman jurists used to grant commercial relief under the guise of private law actions. "If, as the writer believes rites Schiller various private cases of action were available in satisfying commercial needs, the state was acting in exactly the same fashion as it does at the present day."Alan Watson, ''Trade Secrets and Roman Law: The Myth Exploded'', 11 Tul. Eur. & Civ. L.F. 19, 19 (1996).
The suggestion that trade secret law has its roots in Roman law was introduced in 1929 in a ''
Columbia Law Review The ''Columbia Law Review'' is a law review A law review (or law journal) is a scholarly journal An academic or scholarly journal is a periodical publication in which scholarship relating to a particular academic discipline is published. A ...
'' article called "Trade Secrets and the Roman Law: The ''Actio Servi Corrupti''", which has been reproduced in Schiller's, ''An American Experience in Roman Law'' 1 (1971). See ''Trade Secrets and Roman Law: The Myth Exploded'', at 19. However, the
University of Georgia Law School The University of Georgia School of Law (Georgia Law) is the law school of the University of Georgia in Athens, Georgia. It was founded in 1859, making it among the oldest American university law schools in continuous operation. Georgia Law rece ...
professor Alan Watson argued in ''Trade Secrets and Roman Law: The Myth Exploded ''that the ''actio servi corrupti'' was not used to protect trade secrets p. 19. Rather, he explained:
Schiller is sadly mistaken as to what was going on. ... The ''actio servi corrupti'' presumably or possibly could be used to protect trade secrets and other similar commercial interests. That was not its purpose and was, at most, an incidental spin-off. But there is not the slightest evidence that the action was ever so used. In this regard the ''actio servi corrupti'' is not unique. Exactly the same can be said of many private law actions including those for theft, damage to property, deposit, and production of property. All of these could, I suppose, be used to protect trade secrets, etc., but there is no evidence they were. It is bizarre to see any degree the Roman actio servi corrupti as the counterpart of modern law for the protection of trade secrets and other such commercial interests.


19th century

Trade secret law as known today made its first appearance in England in 1817 in '' Newbery v. James'', and in the United States in 1837 in '' Vickery v. Welch''.See The Surprising Virtues of Treating Trade Secrets as IP Rights'', 61 Stan. L. Rev. at 315 & n.6. While those cases involved the first known common law causes of action based on a modern concept of trade secret laws, neither involved injunctive relief; rather, they involved damages only. In England, the first case involving injunctive relief came in 1820 in ''Yovatt v Winyard'', while in the United States, it took until the 1866 case ''Taylor v. Blanchard''. Trade secrets law continued to evolve throughout the United States as a hodgepodge of state laws. In 1939, the
American Law Institute The American Law Institute (ALI) is a research Research is "creative and systematic work undertaken to increase the stock of knowledge". It involves the collection, organization and analysis of information to increase understanding of a ...
issued the
Restatement of Torts In American jurisprudence, the ''Restatements of the Law'' are a set of treatises on legal subjects that seek to inform judges and lawyers about general principles of common law. There are now four series of ''Restatements'', all published by the ...
, containing a summary of trade secret laws across states, which served as the primary resource until the latter part of the century. As of 2013, however, only four states—Massachusetts, New Jersey, New York, and Texas—still rely on the Restatement as their primary source of guidance (other than their body of state case law). It has also been recently theorized that the doctrine of trade secrets should protect competitively valuable, personal information of company executives, in a concept known as "executive trade secrets".


Worldwide


Commonwealth nations

In
Commonwealth A commonwealth is a traditional English term for a political community founded for the common good Common good Common good In philosophy Philosophy (from , ) is the study of general and fundamental questions, such as those about r ...

Commonwealth
common law In law, common law (also known as judicial precedent or judge-made law, or case law Case law is the collection of past legal decisions written by courts and similar tribunal A tribunal, generally, is any person or institution with authority ...
jurisdictions, confidentiality and trade secrets are regarded as an equitable right rather than a
property Property is a system of rights that gives people legal control of valuable things, and also refers to the valuable things themselves. Depending on the nature of the property, an owner of property may have the right to consume, alter, share, r ...
right.


=England and Wales

= The
Court of Appeal of England and Wales The Court of Appeal (formally "Her Majesty's Court of Appeal in England", commonly cited as "CA", "EWCA" or "CoA") is the highest court within the Senior Courts of England and Wales The courts of England and Wales, supported administratively ...
in the case of ''Saltman Engineering Co Ltd v. Campbell Engineering Ltd'' held that the action for breach of confidence is based on a principle of preserving "good faith". The test for a cause of action for breach of confidence in the
common law In law, common law (also known as judicial precedent or judge-made law, or case law Case law is the collection of past legal decisions written by courts and similar tribunal A tribunal, generally, is any person or institution with authority ...
world is set out in the case of ''Coco v. A.N. Clark (Engineers) Ltd'': * The information itself must have the necessary quality of confidence about it; * That information must have been imparted in circumstances imparting an obligation of confidence; * There must be an unauthorized use of that information to the detriment of the party communicating it. The "quality of confidence" highlights that trade secrets are a legal concept. With sufficient effort or through illegal acts (such as breaking and entering), competitors can usually obtain trade secrets. However, so long as the owner of the trade secret can prove that reasonable efforts have been made to keep the information confidential, the information remains a trade secret and generally remains legally protected. Conversely, trade secret owners who cannot evidence reasonable efforts at protecting confidential information risk losing the trade secret, even if the information is obtained by competitors illegally. It is for this reason that trade secret owners shred documents and do not simply recycle them. A successful plaintiff is entitled to various forms of
judicial relief A legal remedy, also referred to as judicial relief or a judicial remedy, is the means with which a court of law, usually in the exercise of Civil law (common law), civil law jurisdiction, enforces a right, imposes a Sentence (law), penalty, or ma ...
, including: * An
injunction An injunction is a legal Law is a system A system is a group of Interaction, interacting or interrelated elements that act according to a set of rules to form a unified whole. A system, surrounded and influenced by its environment ...
* An
account of profits An account of profits (sometimes referred to as an ''accounting for profits'' or simply an ''accounting'') is a type of equitable remedyEquitable remedies are judicial remedies developed by courts of Equity (law), equity from about the time of Henr ...
or an award of
damages At common law In law, common law (also known as judicial precedent or judge-made law, or case law) is the body of law created by judges and similar quasi-judicial tribunals by virtue of being stated in written opinions. ''Black's Law Dictionary ...
* A
declaration Declaration may refer to: Arts, entertainment, and media Literature * ''Declaration'' (book), a self-published electronic pamphlet by Michael Hardt and Antonio Negri * ''The Declaration'' (novel), a 2008 children's novel by Gemma Malley Music ...


=Hong Kong

=
Hong Kong Hong Kong (; , ), officially the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region of the People's Republic of China (HKSAR), is a city A city is a large human settlement.Goodall, B. (1987) ''The Penguin Dictionary of Human Geography''. London: Pe ...

Hong Kong
does not follow the traditional commonwealth approach, instead recognizing trade secrets where a judgment of the High Court indicates that confidential information may be a property right.


European Union

The EU adopted a Directive on the Protection of Trade Secrets on 27 May 2016. The goal of the directive is to harmonize the definition of trade secrets in accordance with existing international standards, and the means of obtaining protection of trade secrets within the EU.


United States

Within the U.S., trade secrets generally encompass a company's proprietary information that is not generally known to its competitors, and which provides the company with a competitive advantage. Although trade secrets law evolved under state common law, prior to 1974, the question of whether patent law preempted state trade secrets law had been unanswered. In 1974, the
United States Supreme Court The Supreme Court of the United States (SCOTUS) is the highest court in the Federal judiciary of the United States, federal judiciary of the United States of America. It has ultimate and largely Procedures of the Supreme Court of the United ...

United States Supreme Court
issued the landmark decision, ''Kewanee Oil Co. v. Bicron Corp.,'' which resolved the question in favor of allowing the states to freely develop their own trade secret laws.


=State law

= In 1979, several U.S. states adopted the
Uniform Trade Secrets Act The Uniform Trade Secrets Act (UTSA), published by the Uniform Law Commission The Uniform Law Commission (ULC), also called the National Conference of Commissioners on Uniform State Laws, is a non-profit, American unincorporated association. Es ...
(UTSA), which was further amended in 1985, with approximately 47 states having adopted some variation of it as the basis for trade secret law. Another significant development is the Economic Espionage Act (EEA) of 1996 (), which makes the theft or misappropriation of a trade secret a federal crime. This law contains two provisions criminalizing two sorts of activity. # , criminalizes the theft of trade secrets to benefit foreign powers. # , criminalizes their theft for commercial or economic purposes. The statutory penalties are different for the two offenses. The EEA was extended in 2016 to allow companies to file civil suits in federal court.


=Federal law

= On May 11, 2016, President Obama signed the
Defend Trade Secrets Act The Defend Trade Secrets Act of 2016 (DTSA) (, codified at , et seq.) is a United States federal law that allows an owner of a trade secret to sue in federal court when its trade secrets Trade secrets are a type of intellectual property Int ...
(DTSA), 18 U.S.C. §§ 1839 et seq., which for the first time created a federal cause of action for misappropriating trade secrets. The DTSA provides for both a private right of action for damages and injunction and a civil action for injunction brought by the Attorney General. The statute followed state laws on liability in significant part, defining trade secrets in the same way as the Uniform Trade Secrets Act as, However, the law contains several important differences from prior law. # Because it is a federal law, trade secret cases can be prosecuted in federal courts with concomitant procedural advantages. # It provides for the unusual remedy of preliminary seizure of "property necessary to prevent the propagation or dissemination of the trade secret," 18 U.S.C. §1836 # It provides for remedies to include royalties in appropriate cases and exemplary damages up to two times the actual damages in cases of "willful and malicious" appropriation, 18 U.S.C. §1836(b)(3). The DTSA also clarifies that a United States resident (including a company) can be liable for misappropriation that takes place outside the United States, and any person can be liable as long as an act in furtherance of the misappropriation takes place in the United States, 18 U.S.C. §1837. The DTSA provides the courts with broad injunctive powers. 18 U.S.C. §1836(b)(3). The DTSA does not preempt or supplant state laws, but provides an additional cause of action. Because states vary significantly in their approach to the "inevitable disclosure" doctrine, its use has limited, if any, application under the DTSA, 18 U.S.C.§1836(b)(3)(A).


Comparison to other types of intellectual property law

In the United States, trade secrets are not protected by law in the same manner as
patent A patent is a type of intellectual property Intellectual property (IP) is a category of property Property is a system of rights that gives people legal control of valuable things, and also refers to the valuable things themselves. Depe ...

patent
s or
trademark A trademark (also written trade mark or trade-mark) is a type of intellectual property Intellectual property (IP) is a category of property Property is a system of rights that gives people legal control of valuable things, and also r ...

trademark
s. Historically, trademarks and patents are protected under federal statutes, the
Lanham Act The Lanham (Trademark) Act (, codified at et seq. () is the primary federal trademark A trademark (also written trade mark or trade-mark) is a type of intellectual property Intellectual property (IP) is a category of property ...
and Patent Act, respectively, while trade secrets are usually protected under
state law State law refers to the law of a federated state A federated state (which may also be referred to as a state, a province A province is almost always an administrative division Administrative division, administrative unitArticle 3(1). ...
s, and most states have enacted the
Uniform Trade Secrets Act The Uniform Trade Secrets Act (UTSA), published by the Uniform Law Commission The Uniform Law Commission (ULC), also called the National Conference of Commissioners on Uniform State Laws, is a non-profit, American unincorporated association. Es ...
(UTSA), except for
Massachusetts Massachusetts (, ), officially the Commonwealth of Massachusetts, is the most populous state State may refer to: Arts, entertainment, and media Literature * ''State Magazine'', a monthly magazine published by the U.S. Department of State * ...

Massachusetts
,
New York New York most commonly refers to: * New York City, the most populous city in the United States, located in the state of New York * New York (state), a state in the northeastern United States New York may also refer to: Film and television * New ...
, and
North Carolina North Carolina () is a state State may refer to: Arts, entertainment, and media Literature * ''State Magazine'', a monthly magazine published by the U.S. Department of State * The State (newspaper), ''The State'' (newspaper), a daily news ...

North Carolina
. However, since 2016 this situation changed with the enactment of the
Defend Trade Secrets Act The Defend Trade Secrets Act of 2016 (DTSA) (, codified at , et seq.) is a United States federal law that allows an owner of a trade secret to sue in federal court when its trade secrets Trade secrets are a type of intellectual property Int ...
(DTSA), making trade secrets also protectable under a federal law. One of the differences between patents and trademarks, on the one hand, and trade secrets, on the other, is that a trade secret is protected only when the owner has taken reasonable measures to protect the information as a secret (see (3)(A)).


Comparison with trademarks

Nations have different trademark policies. Assuming the mark in question meets certain other standards of protectibility, trademarks are generally protected from infringement on the grounds that other uses might confuse consumers as to the origin or nature of the goods once the mark has been associated with a particular supplier. Similar considerations apply to
service mark A service mark or servicemark is a trademark A trademark (also written trade mark or trade-mark) is a type of intellectual property Intellectual property (IP) is a category of property Property is a system of rights that gives ...

service mark
s and
trade dress Trade dress is the characteristics of the visual appearance of a product or its packaging (or even the design of a building) that signify the source of the product to consumers. Trade dress is an aspect of trademark law A trademark (also w ...
. By definition, a trademark enjoys no protection (''qua'' trademark) until and unless it is "disclosed" to consumers, for only then are consumers able to associate it with a supplier or source in the requisite manner. (That a company plans to ''use'' a certain trademark might itself be protectable as a trade secret, however, until the mark is actually made public.) To acquire a trademark rights under U.S. law, one must simply use the mark "in commerce".United States Patent and Trademark Office
General Questions
/ref> It is possible to register a trademark in the United States, both at the federal and state levels. Registration of trademarks confers some advantages, including stronger protection in certain respects, but registration is not required in order to get protection. Registration may be required in order to file a lawsuit for trademark infringement.


Comparison with patents

To acquire a patent, full information about the method or product has to be supplied to the patent office and upon publication or issuance, will then be available to all. After expiration of the patent, competitors can copy the method or product legally. The temporary
monopoly A monopoly (from Greek#REDIRECT Greek Greek may refer to: Greece Anything of, from, or related to Greece Greece ( el, Ελλάδα, , ), officially the Hellenic Republic, is a country located in Southeast Europe. Its population is approxi ...

monopoly
on the subject matter of the patent is regarded as a tradeoff for thus disclosing the information to the public. It may be possible to obtain patent protection for a trade secret. In order to obtain a patent, the inventor must disclose the invention, so that others will be able to both make and use the invention. To obtain a patent in the United States, any preference for the mode of practicing the invention must be disclosed. Often, an invention will be improved after filing of the patent application, and additional information will be learned. None of that additional information must be disclosed through the patent application process, and it may thus be kept as a trade secret. That nondisclosed information will often increase the commercial viability of the patent. Most patent licenses include clauses that require the inventor to disclose any trade secrets they have, and patent licensors must be careful to maintain their trade secrets while licensing a patent through such means as the use of a
non-disclosure agreement #REDIRECT Non-disclosure agreement#REDIRECT Non-disclosure agreement A non-disclosure agreement (NDA), also known as a confidentiality agreement (CA), confidential disclosure agreement (CDA), proprietary information agreement (PIA) or secrecy agre ...
. Compared to patents, the advantages of trade secrets are that a trade secret is not limited in time (it "continues indefinitely as long as the secret is not revealed to the public", whereas a patent is only in force for a specified time, after which others may freely copy the invention), a trade secret does not imply any registration costs, has an immediate effect, does not require compliance with any formalities, and does not imply any disclosure of the invention to the public. The disadvantages of trade secrets include that "others may be able to legally discover the secret and be thereafter entitled to use it", "others may obtain patent protection for legally discovered secrets", and a trade secret is more difficult to enforce than a patent.


Criticism

Trade secret regulations that mask the composition of chemical agents in
consumer product A consumer is a person or a group who intends to order, orders, or uses purchased goods, products, or services Service may refer to: Activities :''(See the Religion section for religious activities)'' * Administrative service, a required part o ...
s have been criticized for allowing the trade secret holders to hide the presence of potentially harmful and
toxic substances In biology, poisons are Chemical substance, substances that can cause death, injury or harm to organs, Tissue (biology), tissues, Cell (biology), cells, and DNA usually by chemical reactions or other activity (chemistry), activity on the molecul ...

toxic substances
. It has been argued that the public is being denied a clear picture of such products' safety, whereas competitors are well positioned to analyze its chemical composition. In 2004, the National Environmental Trust tested 40 common consumer products; in more than half of them they found toxic substances not listed on the
product label A label (as distinct from signage Signage is the design or use of signs and symbols to communicate a message. A signage also means signs ''collectively'' or being considered as a group. The term ''signage'' is documented to have been popula ...
.


Cases

* '' Data General Corp. v. Digital Computer Controls, Inc.'', 297 A.2d 433 (Del. Ch. 1971): protection and disclosure of design documents. * '' Rivendell Forest Prods. v. Georgia-Pacific Corp.'', 28 F.3d 1042: trade secrets and software systems. *'' IBM v. Papermaster'' (No. 08-9078, 2008 U.S. Dist):
Mark Papermaster Mark D. Papermaster (born 1961) is an American business executive currently serving as the chief technology officer (CTO) and executive vice president for Technology and Engineering at Advanced Micro Devices (AMD). On January 25, 2019 he was promo ...
moving from
IBM International Business Machines Corporation (IBM) is an American multinational technology company headquartered in Armonk, New York, with operations in over 170 countries. The company began in 1911, founded in Endicott, New York, as the C ...

IBM
to
Apple computer Apple Inc. is an American multinational Multinational may refer to: * Multinational corporation, a corporate organization operating in multiple countries * Multinational force, a military body from multiple countries * Multinational state, ...
in 2008. *'' Du Pont de Nemours and Company v. Kolon Industries Incorporated'', Nos. 10-1103, 10-1275. U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit. Argued Oct. 26, 2010–March 11, 2011. trade secrets case involving Kevlar fiber, resulting in award to DuPont of ~US$920 million.
*'' Silvaco Data Systems v. Intel Corp.'' addressed the question of whether possession of software
object code In computing Computing is any goal-oriented activity requiring, benefiting from, or creating computing machinery. It includes the study and experimentation of algorithmic processes and development of both computer hardware , hardware and sof ...
can result in misappropriation of trade secrets *'' Christou v. Beatport, LLC'' constituted that
MySpace#REDIRECT Myspace {{Redirect category shell, {{R from other capitalisation {{R from former name {{R from page move ...

MySpace
profiles could be held as trade secrets.


See also

* Biswamohan Pani, charged in 2008 with stealing $1 billion worth of trade secrets from Intel *
Data breach A data breach is a security violation, in which sensitive, protected or confidential data is copied, transmitted, viewed, stolen or used by an individual unauthorized to do so. Other terms are unintentional information disclosure, data leak, info ...
* Glossary of legal terms in technology * Trade secrets in Canada


References and notes


Further reading

*Eiichiro Kubota: ''Protection of Trade Secrets in Japan.'' A.I.P.P.I. (Journal of International Association for the Protection of Intellectual Property of Japan) 36(5), 231 - 238 (2011),
''Economic Espionage and Trade Secrets''
U.S. Attorneys' Bulletin (2009). * * * * * * * * *


External links


Economic Espionage - FBI Launches Nationwide Awareness Campaign

Teaching industry how to protect trade secrets and national security
FBI The Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) is the domestic intelligence Intelligence has been defined in many ways: the capacity for abstraction, logic, understanding, self-awareness, learning, emotional knowledge, reasoning, planning, cre ...

FBI
{{Authority control Intellectual property law Secrecy Intangible assets