The Daily Journal | California Lawyer
Trade Secrets: Is Litigating Infringement Worth It? What Can Be Done Instead?
March 29, 2021
By Daniel B. Garrie & Hon. Gail Andler
A trade secret is any information “that has either actual or potential independent economic value by not being generally well known.” It is intellectual property that is not widely known but is valuable to those who possess it and those who would like to acquire it. By allowing owners and inventors to set their products apart from others, trade secrets are a critical factor in many businesses’ uniqueness and ongoing consumer loyalty.
However, information deemed a trade secret is not protected by a patent, copyright, or trademark. Such information is protected by keeping it under wraps. Unlike patents, which require the inventor or owner “to provide a detailed and enabling disclosure about the invention in exchange for the right to exclude others from practicing the invention for a limited period,” trade secrets are rarely shared with individuals outside of those with an absolute need to know, and there is no time limit as to how long the owner or inventor can keep it a secret.
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