Trade Secrets Law
John-Paul Deol, Partner at Dhillon Law Group, discusses what is considered trade secrets.
Meet the Attorneys Protecting Your Business’s Trade Secrets
Trade secret theft is an especially important issue here in California, home to so many tech innovators. At Dhillon Law Group, we have extensive experience in trade secret, trademark, patent, and copyright matters from our long history of working with many businesses across the country, including technology companies and many Silicon Valley mainstays. We represent both businesses and individuals, and our thorough and skilled legal team is prepared to answer your business and legal questions about trade secrets.
Under state and federal laws, a trade secret may include any formula, compilation, program, pattern, process, method, device, or technique that derives independent economic value from being known to your company but generally unknown otherwise. Further, a trade secret may be defined according to the reasonable, legal efforts made to keep it confidential.
With the recent enactment of the federal Defend Trade Secrets Act (DTSA) in 2016— read the full text here —there are now both state and federal laws providing protection against the theft of trade secrets. Such laws may help you defend your proprietary information and intellectual property.
Federal and state laws entitle a trade-secret holder to seek civil remedies against any person or entity making any effort to wrongfully misappropriate a trade secret. Such remedies include monetary damages and injunctive relief, which can stymie the further spread of the trade secret information. Where a trade secret was intentionally stolen, the thief’s actions may also constitute a crime, and may be prosecuted by federal or state authorities.
Some examples of the theft of trade secrets can include:
- Outright theft of a secret device or formula
- Bribery to attain access to proprietary information
- Misrepresentations to secure access to trade secret information
- Breaching a duty to maintain secrecy or encouraging someone else to do likewise
- Spying through electronic measures
- Industrial espionage
By contrast, there is nothing illegal about discovering a trade secret independently, such as through reverse engineering. To better understand this distinction, it may be prudent to consult with a trade secret lawyer.
If your company’s proprietary information has been misappropriated, it’s vital to know your legal rights. The loss of a trade secret can be devastating to your business, but you may have some legal defenses available to you, including filing a lawsuit against the thief and reporting the incident to state or federal authorities. The best way to determine the correct response, and to be fully compensated for the loss of your confidential information, is to find a trade secret lawyer in your area for legal advice.