Protecting a Trade Secret

Safeguarding Key Elements of Your Business Success

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It’s a highly competitive world—if you’ve come up with a better way of doing something, whether it’s a unique sauce for food or a formula for a consumer product, you want to take the right steps to protect your competitive edge, to keep others from profiting from your hard work and ingenuity. Sometimes, the best way to do that is with a patent. That, however, can be a complicated and expensive process, and can take a long time to obtain. A more effective way, in certain situations, is to protect your process or product as a trade secret.

Trade secrets are generally governed by state law, though many states have adopted some or all of the provisions of the Uniform Trade Secrets Act. Trade secrets are customarily defined to include ideas, patterns, formulas, processes, physical devices or compilations of information. To qualify as a trade secret, it must provide the owner with some type of competitive advantage and must be treated in a way that it is perceived not to be public or common knowledge.

With a trade secret, there is no filing with any governmental entity. Instead, as the owner of the trade secret, you are required to take the necessary steps to protect the secret. First, you need to take reasonable steps to ensure that the trade secret is not readily accessible to persons outside the company, unless those persons have signed a nondisclosure agreement. You’ll want anyone with access to the trade secret to sign such an agreement and it’s a good idea to clearly mark any documents containing trade secrets as confidential.

If someone wrongfully discloses or steals your trade secret, your course of action is typically for breach of the nondisclosure agreement. If you succeed, you can obtain damages for any economic injury you’ve suffered and you can typically get the court to issue an injunction, preventing any further use or disclosure of the trade secret.

Contact Maris & Lanier, P.C.

To learn how we can help you protect your business interests, send us an e-mail or call our office at 214-706-0929 for an appointment.

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Dallas Business Litigation Attorneys at Maris & Lanier, P.C. handle all legal aspects of a business, from employment law to commercial transactions to trial and litigation of claims in the DFW area including the cities of

Dallas, Fort Worth, Irving, Richardson, Plano, Frisco, McKinney, Grand Prairie, Arlington & Mesquite, TX.