Trade Secrets

Does your business leverage proprietary information that is not eligible for patent, trademark or copyright?  

Trade secret protection may be right for yor business!


Frequently Asked Questions about Trade Secrets

Trade Secret Basics

What is a trade secret?
A trade secret is any confidential proprietary information that gives its owner a commercial advantage. Examples of trade secrets are customer lists, formulas, processes. Trade secret owners do not apply for a title document or submit to a rigorous examination process. The rigor of trade secret protection is keeping the secret, well, secret! If a trade secret is misappropriated then the owner can sue the federal court under the Uniform Defend Trade Secrets Act  
Protecting trade secret under DTSA
  • The Uniform Defend Trade Secrets Act was on extension of Economic Espionage Act of 1996
    Economic Espionage Act criminalizes trade theft under 2 circumstances:
    • Economic espionage: theft of trade secret to benefit foreign government, instrumentality of agent (USPTO)
    • Theft of trade secrets: theft “that is related to a product or service used in or intended for use in interstate or foreign commerce, to the economic benefit of anyone other than the owner thereof, and intending or knowing that the offense will, injure any owner of that trade secret.”  (USPTO)
  • DTSA made the federal protection of trade secrets be extended so that you can file a civil suit for theft of trade secrets
  • "U.S. courts can protect a trade secret by (a) ordering that the misappropriation stop, (b) that the secret be protected from public exposure, and (c) in extraordinary circumstances, ordering the seizure of the misappropriated trade secret." -USPTO
Protecting trade secret under Maryland law/common law in MD courts