What's a Trade Secret?

Saturday, June 21 2003 @ 09:57 PM EDT

Contributed by: PJ

For those who would like to understand this claim better, here are some resources to get you going:

1. Definitions and explanations on Findlaw here and here and elsewhere here and here and here on Gigalaw.

2. Utah is one of the states that has passed the Uniform Trade Secrets Act.

Utah's version, Utah Code Ann.Section 13-24-1 et seq. is here. (Another resource for case law is Lexis' free case law search tool here, then choose Utah, then state law, and type in search terms "trade secrets". You can do a Federal search there too.) Here are its "Definitions" because the link works sometimes and then not other times:

13-24-2. Definitions.
As used in this chapter, unless the context requires otherwise: 

(1) "Improper means" includes theft, bribery, misrepresentation, breach or inducement of a breach of a duty to maintain secrecy, or espionage through electronic or other means. 
(2) "Misappropriation" means: 
(a) acquisition of a trade secret of another by a person who knows or has reason to know that the trade secret was acquired by improper means; or 
(b) disclosure or use of a trade secret of another without express or implied consent by a person who: 
(i) used improper means to acquire knowledge of the trade secret; or 
(ii) at the time of disclosure or use, knew or had reason to know that his knowledge of the trade secret was: 
(A) derived from or through a person who had utilized improper means to acquire it; 
(B) acquired under circumstances giving rise to a duty to maintain its secrecy or limit its use; or 
(C) derived from or through a person who owed a duty to the person seeking relief to maintain its secrecy or limit its use; or 
(iii) before a material change of his position, knew or had reason to know that it was a trade secret and that knowledge of it had been acquired by accident or mistake. 
(3) "Person" means a natural person, corporation, business trust, estate, trust, partnership, association, joint venture, government, governmental subdivision or agency, or any other legal or commercial entity. 
(4) "Trade secret" means information, including a formula, pattern, compilation, program, device, method, technique, or process, that: 
(a) derives independent economic value, actual or potential, from not being generally known to, and not being readily ascertainable by proper means by, other persons who can obtain economic value from its disclosure or use; and 
(b) is the subject of efforts that are reasonable under the circumstances to maintain its secrecy. 

4. Miscellaneous resources on software trade secrets and the SCO case in particular and cutting edge issues.

5. Case law here.

Happy hunting.