Understanding Trade Secrets in Construction Part 2
To determine if a person has the proprietary right to intellectual property, they must first establish that the information is in fact considered a trade secret in the legal context. After they prove this, they must also satisfy all the conditions to qualify for a trade secret claim.
In this five-part article, we first educated you on what trade secrets are defined as. In this section, we will discuss how trade secrets are established in a court of law. In the third, fourth, and fifth sections, we will go into further detail about trade secrets.
As Clearwater construction lawyers, we are intimately familiar with cases that experienced the disclosure of trade secrets. We also have experience providing prosecution services involving trade secret violations as well. If your trade secret was misappropriated, please speak with a Clearwater construction attorney today.
Determining Trade Secrets
As we already covered, the Uniform Trade Secrets Act (UTSA) is the most popular legislature concerning trade secrets. Before the creation of the UTSA’s law, trade secrets were a common law tort that was detailed in a few sections of the Restatement of Torts (1939). The basic concepts of this law were adopted in U.S. courts and established that there were several elements that needed to be evaluated to determine whether or not the disclosed information was considered a trade secret.
The following six questions could determine if a trade secret was misappropriated.
- Is the information known outside the owner’s business?
- How well known is the information by other parties within that business?
- What steps did the owner take to protect the information?
- How valuable is the information to the owner’s business and their competition?
- How much effort or capital was invested by the owner in creating the information?
- How challenging would it be for the information to be obtained or replicated by another business?
Elements That Create a Trade Secret Claim
Although trade secret laws may slightly vary state by state, to generally prove that a trade secret was wrongfully disclosed there are three elements that need to be met.
- Does the intellectual property qualify as confidential information that needs to be protected?
- Did the owner of this information take rational measures to prevent the information from being disclosed?
- Was the information wrongfully breached or misappropriated by the receiving party?
Disclaimer: The information contained in this article is for general educational information only. This information does not constitute legal advice, is not intended to constitute legal advice, nor should it be relied upon as legal advice for your specific factual pattern or situation.