Are uniform trade secret laws on the horizon?

Companies use trade secrets when they want to keep specific information confidential. This business law device is often used by technology companies; however, they can be used in all different trades. The issue is whether a company would like to protect specific intellectual property.

When a company's information is compromised, they may file suit. For example, Intel spent $1 billion on intellectual property matters in 2008. The case ultimately sent a former company employee behind bars.

However, the problem with trade secrets is that the law is not uniform. This is causing several jurisdictional issues when cases arise. Specifically, trade secret law in terms of the Uniform Trade Secrets Act has been limited. At least four states have not adopted the act, and this has created multijurisdictional problems. For this reason, federal legislation could be in the making.

The problem with trade secrets is that a state is not restricted by another state in terms of a legal decision. For example, Texas never utilized the Act. Therefore, the law is determined uniquely from state to state, depending on the applicable venue. This is making the protection of trade secrets hard for many companies. They must create separate trade secret plans for varied areas of the United States. It may be a crucial part of a company's operational issues.

Moreover, when trade secrets are compromised, the damage can reach several jurisdictions. For example, if information was hacked by a computer in California, the secret could reach New York, Colorado, and Texas within moments. This creates further confusion with laws in terms of recovery and sanctions.

Fortunately, the Theft of Trade Secrets Clarification Act of 2012 was signed last year, which helps cover secrets that are not bought and are used within. Moreover, other acts were passed in the former legislative session, which raise the penalties attached to the theft of such intellectual property. Currently, a federal trade secret proposal that is designed to make the laws uniform in the country is expected to be considered in the near future.

Uniform Trade Secret Laws

Trade secrets can be vital to a company. For example, the super-secret recipes to many of your favorite carbonated beverages are protected by trade secrets. If such information is compromised, a company could be severely harmed.

If your company wants to know about the laws surrounding trade secrets, contact an experienced business law attorney. A qualified lawyer can help you protect or assert the rights of your company.