Long ago, the term “intellectual property” would have sounded like gibberish to most people. Nowadays, it is a common phrase that typically refers to creations, inventions, designs, images or other material that is used in commerce. Trade secrets are a type of intellectual property that is protected by California law. They are basically forms of information that may be sold or licensed.
The unauthorized use of such information may cause the owner of the information to suffer economic damages. In such cases, said the owner would have grounds to file an intellectual property lawsuit, claiming infringement of copyright or breach of contract, etc. To win a case, the plaintiff must prove that the information in question was, in fact, a trade secret.
3 basic components of trade secrets
One of the ways to determine if something is a trade secret is to show that the information was commercially valuable. It is also important to show that the information was disclosed to a select group of people and was not generally available for public knowledge. Finally, to prove that something is a trade secret, the owner must be able to demonstrate that he or she took precautions to keep the information private among a select group of people, such as by having those to whom the information was imparted sign a confidentiality agreement.
Violation of trade secret protections
It is considered “unfair business practices” to divulge trade secrets without the authority to do so. This is a complex area of law, which is why it is helpful to seek legal guidance before heading to court. An experienced California intellectual property law attorney can carefully review a case and recommend the best course of action.