Trade Secrets: What They Are and How To Protect Them

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Your trade secrets are some of the most valuable intellectual property you own. You own a particular pattern, formula, method, or other valuable process that gives you a competitive edge in your field. To protect its value and that edge, you want to keep it secret. You also want to prevent its use by competitors.

At Kondori & Moorad, LLP, a skilled intellectual property attorney helps you identify trade secrets and protect them. We work with companies to safeguard their valuable information and protect their legal rights against misappropriation.


Trade secrets play a critical role in developing your commercial competitiveness as a company. They contribute to your strategic positioning in the market and towards economic gain. They are typically of great value, so you need to know how to identify them and protect them.

A trade secret is a type of intellectual property. However, unlike patents or copyrights, a trade secret is not independently protected through a filing or registration with the federal government.

Instead, a trade secret is information that:

  • Has potential or actual economic value because it is unknown by others;
  • Has value to those who cannot legitimately or legally obtain the information; and
  • Is kept secret through a trade secret owner’s reasonable efforts.

All three of these elements must occur for your information to constitute a trade secret. If any element is not met or stops being met at any time, the information may no longer qualify for trade secret protection.


You must make reasonable efforts to protect your trade secret. A qualified intellectual property lawyer can help advise you on how to do so. What “reasonable protections” mean under the law may vary on a case-by-case basis. However, there are several efforts you can make to protect your rights:

  • Requiring those with access to trade secret details to sign non-disclosure and confidentiality agreements
  • Limiting access to trade secret information by employees or others
  • Marking trade secret materials as confidential
  • Strictly controlling digital access to trade secret information
  • Training employees on how to handle confidential information and trade secrets
  • Reviewing employee activities with secretive files, especially if an employee is terminated
  • Controlling physical access to plans, formulas, or other trade secret information

These efforts and others help protect your information from improper disclosure. Further, they help establish your intent to keep the formation secret in case you need to enforce your rights in court.


Many state and federal laws help protect against trade secret theft or misappropriation. For example, the Economic Espionage Act (EEA) operates alongside the Defend Trade Secrets Act (DTSA) to provide both criminal and civil remedies against those that steal your information.

At the state level, the National Conference of Commissioners on Uniform State Laws helped issue the Uniform Trade Secrets Act (UTSA). This act was adopted in whole or in part by many states. Other states have their own trade secret protections in place to protect companies from misappropriation.

If you believe your company’s trade secret was stolen or improperly used, you should:

  • Contact a qualified trade secret attorney as soon as possible. Your attorney can help determine the best course of action to handle the situation.
  • Collect all evidence of the theft and keep excellent records to help your attorney prove the case.

Many trade secret issues may be resolved outside of court. However, a knowledgeable intellectual property attorney is prepared to protect your rights in court when necessary.


At Kondori & Moorad, LLP, we understand the hard work and expense that went into your trade secret. Our team can advise you on how to protect your information or handle a misappropriation. Contact us today to get started.

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