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What Are the Requirements for Trade Secret Protection?

August 31st, 2023

As a small business owner in Pennsylvania, you may have unique formulas, processes, or methods that give your business a competitive edge. These items are often referred to as trade secrets. A trade secret is information that is not generally known or readily ascertainable, has economic value because it is secret, and is subject to reasonable efforts to maintain its secrecy.

Imagine you run a bakery in Pennsylvania with a unique apple pie recipe. If kept secret, this recipe could be considered a trade secret because it gives your business an economic advantage.

Pennsylvania adopted the Uniform Trade Secrets Act (UTSA) in 2004, providing a legal framework for protecting trade secrets. According to the UTSA, for information to qualify as a trade secret, it must meet three criteria:

  • Secrecy: The information must not be generally known or easily discoverable by others who could profit from its disclosure or use.
  • Economic value: The information must have actual or potential economic value because of its secrecy.
  • Reasonable efforts to maintain secrecy: The trade secret owner must have taken reasonable steps to keep the information secret.

By these standards, the secret apple pie recipe would qualify as a trade secret if you, the bakery owner, take reasonable measures to keep it secret.

How to Protect Your Trade Secrets

One of the most effective ways to protect trade secrets is by implementing confidentiality measures. This could include limiting access to the information, using non-disclosure agreements (NDAs) with employees and business partners, or keeping physical and electronic files secure.

To illustrate, let’s say you own a tech startup in Pennsylvania and have developed a revolutionary software algorithm. You could protect this trade secret by ensuring only key personnel have access to the algorithm, requiring employees to sign NDAs, and installing robust security software to prevent unauthorized access.

Pennsylvania law provides remedies if your trade secrets are stolen, including injunctive relief and damages. In some cases, you may even recover attorney’s fees.

For example, imagine a disgruntled employee at your bakery decides to leave and start their bakery using your apple pie recipe. If you have taken the necessary steps to protect your recipe as a trade secret, you could sue the former employee for misappropriating trade secrets.

Our Philadelphia Business Attorneys at The Gold Law Firm P.C. Can Protect Your Trade Secrets

Your business needs many things to run correctly, including asset protection like trade secrets. To help you protect your trade secrets, speak with our Philadelphia business attorneys at The Gold Law Firm P.C. Call us at 215-569-1999 or contact us online to schedule a free consultation. Located in Philadelphia and Pennsauken, New Jersey, we serve clients in South Jersey and Southeastern Pennsylvania, including Wilkes-Barre, Scranton, Northeast Philadelphia, Bucks County, Chester County, Delaware County, Lehigh County, and Montgomery County.

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