What Is a Trade Secret?
A lake with an island shaped as a question mark in the middle.

Many of today's companies rely on sensitive information to stay relevant within the market. In many cases, this confidential information is referred to as "trade secrets."

In California, information may be considered a trade secret if it meets the following criteria:

a) It is not known outside of the company or business entity;

b) Employees or company stakeholders only know it;

c) It is valuable;

d) It has been subjected to reasonable measures of security; and

e) it is difficult for others outside of the company to acquire or duplicate.

Trade secrets can encompass several types of intellectual property. A well-known example of a trade secret is Coca-Cola's secret recipe for its drinks. Google's algorithm for search engine rankings is another high-profile example of a closely guarded trade secret. On the other hand, more commonplace information may also be considered a trade secret. This category could include: lists of customers; spreadsheets containing financial, administrative, or other data; business plans; bid specifications; or product designs.

In the state of California, trade secrets are protected under the Uniform Trade Secrets Act or "UTSA" for short. UTSA refers to the theft of a trade secret as "misappropriation." There are two significant elements of misappropriation per the legal definition: (1) obtaining a trade secret by illicit means, and (2) using or disclosing the improperly obtained information. The misappropriation of trade secrets can be highly damaging to the companies involved. In many cases, only the enlistment of an intellectual property lawyer can provide some measure of reimbursement for damages incurred.

At the Berglund Group, our highly trained and experienced team of law and business experts can help you to recover damages from, or even prevent, the misappropriation of valuable trade secrets. Our intellectual property lawyers will fight for your rights and improve your company to stay healthy and economically viable. Reach out to us today to set up an initial consultation.

The blog posts provided on this website do not, and are not intended to, constitute legal advice; instead, all information, content, and materials available on this blog are for general informational purposes only.

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