Intellectual property is essentially a product of the mind or creativity. It may be tangible or intangible. Intellectual property includes things such as inventions, art, literature, and methods. A trade secret is one type of intellectual property that enjoys protections pursuant to U.S. laws, namely the Uniform Trade Secrets Act.
The Uniform Trade Secrets Act
The Uniform Trade Secrets Act (UTSA) was developed by the Uniform Law Commission in order to protect the use and exploitation of the intellectual property of another. Pursuant to the UTSA, a trade secret is information that derives from actual or potential economic value. It is also information that is not readily ascertainable unless improper means are utilized. Additionally, trade secrets are the subject of reasonable efforts to maintain secrecy. Put otherwise, a trade secret is usually something being kept confidential that gives a person or business a competitive edge.
Because of the value, both real and potential, of a trade secret, there is always the risk that others may employ improper means to gain access to the information. The UTSA has protections to prevent such misappropriation from occurring. For instance, you may be able to get an injunction against the person or entity that improperly gained access to your trade secret. This would prevent them from using the trade secret.
There is also the possibility that a court will award you damages if your trade secret has been misappropriated. The damages may include value that was lost due to the misappropriation of the trade secret and unjust enrichment gained by the party who misappropriated the secret. You may also be awarded attorney fees if the misappropriation is found to be deliberate. The UTSA also allows a court to take the necessary steps to ensure the continued confidentiality of a trade secret. This means that the court may do things like seal court records.
It is important to emphasize the fact that the UTSA provides protection from the misappropriation of trade secrets. If your trade secret is obtained legally, these protections will not be enforceable. For instance, if your trade secret is independently discovered or discovered through a reverse engineering process, the USTA protections will not be applicable.
Texas Intellectual Property Attorney
Intellectual property can hold great value to a business or individual. It is important to understand what protections are in place so that you know what legal rights you have to protect your intellectual property. It is also important to be aware of how you or your business should handle situations where you may be implicating the intellectual property rights held by another.
The Kumar Law Firm can counsel you on any of these intellectual property legal situations. It is a complex and often confusing area of the law, but an important one to understand, especially for business entities. We will answer all of your questions regarding intellectual property and possible infringement of intellectual property rights. Contact us today.