Trade Secrets Law
Both the Defend Trade Secrets Act (a federal law) and the Missouri Uniform Trade Secrets Act (a state law) address whether information is afforded legal protection as a trade secret.
The Defend Trade Secrets Act defines “trade secret” as:
- all forms and types of financial, business, scientific, technical, economic, or engineering information, including patterns, plans, compilations, program devices, formulas, designs, prototypes, methods, techniques, processes, procedures, programs, or codes, whether tangible or intangible, and whether or how stored, compiled, or memorialized physically, electronically, graphically, photographically, or in writing if—
- the owner thereof has taken reasonable measures to keep such information secret; and
- the information derives independent economic value, actual or potential, from not being generally known to, and not being readily ascertainable through proper means by, another person who can obtain economic value from the disclosure or use of the information.
The definition of “trade secret” under state law is substantially the same. The existence of a trade secret is a conclusion of law based on the applicable facts.
Factors constituting a trade secret
Missouri courts use the following factors to determine whether information constitutes a trade secret:
- the extent to which the information is known outside of the business;
- the extent to which it is known by employees and others involved in [the] business;
- the extent of measures taken by the business to guard the secrecy of the information;
- the value of the information to the business and to its competitors;
- the amount of effort or money expended by the business in developing the information;
- the ease or difficulty with which the information could be properly acquired or duplicated by others.
To establish a violation of trade secrets law, a Plaintiff must demonstrate (1) the existence of protectable trade secrets, (2) misappropriation of those trade secrets by the Defendant, and (3) damages.
Weiss Attorneys at Law has extensive experience with trade secret law on both the federal and state level. Contact one of our attorneys to discuss your situation involving whether information is considered a trade secret as a matter of law.