Los Angeles Trade Secret Attorney
Resolving Complex Issues Involving Intellectual Property
Is your business involved in a dispute over a trade secret? At the Law Office of Steven R. Lovett, we have over 40 years of experience in business litigation and have represented and advised business clients on how to protect their intellectual property.
Contact us to speak with an experienced Los Angeles trade secret lawyer in a free telephonic consultation.
California's Uniform Trade Secrets Act
California's version of the Uniform Trade Secrets Act defines a trade secret as follows in Civil Code Section 3426.1(d): "Trade secret" means information, including a formula, pattern, compilation, program, device, method, technique, or process, that:
- Derives independent economic value, actual or potential, from not being generally known to the public or to other persons who can obtain economic value from its disclosure or use; and
- Is the subject of efforts that are reasonable under the circumstances to maintain its secrecy.
Civil Code Section 3426.1 defines "improper means" as including theft, misrepresentation, breach or inducement of a breach of duty to maintain secrecy or espionage through electronic or other means as improper. Only reverse engineering or independent derivation alone shall not be considered improper means.
To achieve status as a trade secret, the item or process must be secret from the masses. It should only be available on a need to know basis and should be locked up, password protected or encrypted. Disputes involving trade secrets frequently revolve around customer lists. If a customer list has information that can be readily discerned through public lists, such as yellow pages, it may not be protectable.
Disputes over trade secrets are resolved very quickly since courts will often issue injunctions to halt illegal or offensive actions that result in a misappropriation of the trade secret. The penalty for misappropriation of a trade secret can be actual damages plus treble damages.
Can Trade Secrets Be Protected Internationally, or Do Protections Only Apply Within National Jurisdictions?
Trade secrets can be protected internationally to a certain extent, but the level of protection may vary depending on the jurisdiction. While trade secret laws are primarily governed by national legislation, there are various international agreements and treaties that provide some level of harmonization and protection for trade secrets.
Additionally, bilateral and multilateral agreements between nations can offer additional avenues for international protection of trade secrets. These agreements often include provisions on the enforcement of intellectual property rights, which can encompass trade secrets.
It's important for businesses to consult with legal experts who have expertise in international trade secret protection to understand the specific requirements and options available in different jurisdictions.