Skip to Content

Trade Secrets

In contrast to patent and copyright law, which are exclusively federal, trade secrets are protected both by state and federal law.  As a result, the details of the applicable state laws differ, but there are broad commonalities.  Some states define a trade secret as “any formula, pattern, device or compilation of information which is used in one’s business, and which gives him an opportunity to obtain an advantage over competitors who do not know or use it.” Others, following the Uniform Trade Secrets Act define it as any “information, including a formula, pattern, compilation, program, device, method, technique, or process, that: (1) derives independent economic value, actual or potential, from not being generally known to, and not being readily ascertainable by proper means by, other persons who can obtain economic value from its disclosure or use; and (2) is the subject of efforts that are reasonable under the circumstances to maintain its secrecy.”

Similarly, the Federal Defend Trade Secrets Act, 18 U.S.C.§§ 1839 et seq., defines a trade secret as “all forms and types of financial, business, scientific, technical, economic, or engineering information, including patterns, plans, compilations, program devices, formulas, designs, prototypes, methods, techniques, processes, procedures, programs, or codes, whether tangible or intangible, and whether or how stored, compiled, or memorialized physically, electronically, graphically, photographically, or in writing if: (A) the owner thereof has taken reasonable measures to keep such information secret; and (B) the information derives independent economic value, actual or potential, from not being generally known to, and not being readily ascertainable through proper means by, another person who can obtain economic value from the disclosure or use of the information.”

A trade secret is misappropriated where someone with a duty to trade secret holder, such as an employee, partner, or agent, violates that duty, or where improper means were used to access the trade secret.  Improper means include theft, bribery, misrepresentation, breach or inducement of a breach of a duty to maintain secrecy, or espionage through electronic or other means.  A trade secret is not misappropriated when a competitor reverse engineers a product, independently develops the same technology, or lawfully acquires the information.

Trade secrets lawyers can help evaluate whether something is a trade secret and whether it has been misappropriated.  If you believe that you may have a trade secret claim, please contact Jonathan Rotter or Kara Wolke.

Court Recognition

“And without question, the Court is of the opinion that the value of benefit that’s been conferred to the class is extremely sizable and that this Court is certainly aware that the skill and efficiency of plaintiff’s counsel is what attributed to this settlement, and they are learned securities counsel. The Court is mindful of that, and as a result they were able to sort of weed their way through the complex issues in this case, and also to bring this about — bring about a settlement rather in short order as these matters go. So the Court certainly attributes that to counsel’s skill and efficiency, as well as the ability to work with the adversaries in this matter.”

–Hon. Susan D. Wigention, U.S. District Judge, District of New Jersey

“Class Counsel has conducted the litigation and achieved the Settlement in good faith and with skill, perseverance and diligent advocacy”

— Hon. Donovan W. Frank, U.S. District Judge, District of Minnesota

“The court finds that the Settlement Fund… created by Class Counsel is an exceptional result… The settlement is significantly above the average securities class action settlement when measured as a percentage of losses recovered… The court finds that Class Counsel, particularly Co-Lead Counsel, exerted tremendous effort on behalf of the class in the prosecution of this action… The Court finds that Class Counsel skillfully prosecuted this action, particularly given that this case was unusually complex relative to most securities fraud class actions. ”

–Hon. Dickran M. Tevrizian (Ret.), U.S. District Court Judge, Central District of California

More Testimonials