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When will trade secrets be protected under the law?

The competition in today's business world can be fierce. Many business owners in Tennessee work hard to have an advantage over their competitors. One advantage they may have is if they have developed trade secrets. A trade secret is a type of intellectual property that is made up of information that is used in business in order to give the business the upper-hand financially over their competition that does not know or use the trade secret. Some types of trade secrets are methods, formulas, programs and more.

The Uniform Trade Secrets Act has been adopted, at least in part, by almost every state. If there is a misappropriation of a trade secret, the court has a number of options. The court can order the party that misappropriated the trade secret to do what is necessary to make it secret again. The court can also order the misappropriating party to pay royalties to the party that holds the trade secret. The party that holds the trade secret can also receive compensation for damages, including attorneys' fees and court costs.

Keep in mind though, that these remedies are only available when a trade secret has been disclosed without authorization. The owner of the trade secret must take steps to keep it secret. If a party independently discovers the trade secret, if the trade secret is released to the general public or if it just becomes part of our society's general knowledge, then it may no longer be legally protected as a trade secret.

As this shows, the laws surrounding trade secrets can be complex. It is not always apparent when something is protected and when it is not. If a business owner has questions about whether their trade secrets have been misappropriated, they may want to seek the advice they need to make informed decisions.

Source: United States Patent And Trademark Office, "Trade Secret Policy," Accessed Nov. 20, 2017

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