Trade Secret Lawyer in Greenville, SC
Trade secrets can be defined as confidential proprietary data, information, strategies, etc. that give a company a competitive advantage or provide them actual or potential financial benefit. The Law Office of James Stone Craven can help a business determine what may qualify as a trade secret and what actions are required to protect it from trade secret infringement under trade secret law.
Unlike patents and trademarks, public or government registration is not required in order to be protected under the Trade Secrets laws. Trade secrets are for the most part protected by South Carolina state statutes modeled after the Uniform Trade Secrets Act (UTSA). Under the UTSA, a business is able to protect its information as a trade secret if:
- the information is one of the types eligible for trade secret protection (such as a formula, pattern, compilation, program device, method, techniques, or process);
the information provides your business with independent financial value by not being generally known and not being readily ascertainable; and
you take reasonable efforts to maintain the secrecy of the information.
The recently passed Defend Trade Secrets Act attempts to make state laws that govern trade secrets more clear and distinct by creating rules at the federal level. The Act has extended the definition of trade secrets and provides companies with the option to pursue civil actions related to their misappropriation in federal court. The Act has protections built in whistleblowers from retaliation if they disclose a trade secret to an attorney or government official. Furthermore, trade secret owners can now seek an order to seize allegedly stolen trade secret assets without prior notice. The Act is broadly applicable to any transaction or relationship involving a company with American assets or ties, including their hiring and firing procedures.
If no public disclosure of the trade secret can be proven or found, trade secret protection will continue indefinitely. However, if a trade secret is made public, accidental or intentional, anyone can use it. You are able protect trade secrets from unwanted disclosure under trade secret law by utilizing non-disclosure agreements (NDAs) with employees and third parties with whom you contract.
The Law Office of James Stone Craven can help protect your company from unauthorized disclosure and use of trade secrets as well as advise you on when to use an alternative form of intellectual property protection to secure your trade secret.