What is a Trade Secret?
A Trade Secret is information that has economic value to a business through its secrecy or confidentiality. This can be proprietary information such as customer lists, product plans, sales and marketing plans, employee rosters, formulas, technical information, data (financial, research and laboratorial), designs and processes.
Such information is a trade secret if it is not publicly known or generally acknowledged as being in the public domain; if it has economic value specifically because it remains outside of public knowledge; and efforts have been made by its owner to keep it a secret from the public. There is no formal registration process for trade secrets. Instead, the trade secret owner must take reasonable steps to maintain the secrecy of the secret and valuable information.
In California, trade secrets are recognized under the Uniform Trade Secrets Act, California Civil Code Section 3426 et seq. Additionally, there are Federal Protections and criminal penalties for misappropriation of trade secrets.
SHERMAN IP’s Experience with Trade Secrets
SHERMAN IP attorneys specialize in developing programs to help you protect your confidential information and drafting agreements protecting your trade secrets and proprietary information when dealing with others. SHERMAN IP attorneys can determine whether your trade secrets have been disclosed through “improper means” or “misappropriated.” In such cases litigation may become necessary to protect your rights and prevent further use and disclosure of your trade secrets. Failure to protect and enforce your trade secret rights can severely impact your business by allowing others to use your own secret information and processes to unfairly compete with your in your own market. SHERMAN IP attorneys can help you develop internal programs to secure your information including developing specialized Non-Disclosure Agreements that will protect your company’s trade secrets and provide a foundation of security.
SHERMAN IP attorneys have extensive experience in litigation and transactions concerning trade secrets and proprietary information cutting across numerous industries. Due to rampant Internet usage and the portability and accessibility of online databases, it is becoming increasingly difficult to protect personal and proprietary information. The SHERMAN IP team helps our clients establish and improve trade secret protection programs both physical and online.