Many businesses maintain intellectual property in a variety of different forms, including trade secrets. In Minnesota, trade secrets are governed by Minnesota’s adoption of the Uniform Trade Secrets Act (Chapter 325C) and cases interpreting those laws. Protection of trade secrets begins with careful planning designed to preserve the secret and protect it from inadvertent or intentional disclosure. However, where the secret is misappropriated by an employee or competitor, trade secret litigation may be appropriate.
What is a Trade Secret
A trade secret misappropriation case exists where the following elements are present: 1) a trade secret exists, 2) someone takes, uses or discloses the secret, and 3) harm results to the owner of the secret. Success or failure of a claim or defense in a trade secret case depends on each element, but it also depends on much more, such as whether the information was actually treated as a “secret” by the party seeking to protect it. At times, the scope of the secret may also be subject to reasonable debate.
Protecting the Trade Secret
Our trade secret litigation attorneys provide strategic planning advice designed to preserve secrets that are critical to our clients’ businesses. We also provide litigation services designed to preserve and protect those secrets when they come under attack through disclosure or improper use by competitors. When litigation becomes necessary, we quickly initiate action to address the disclosure of information and work to seal off the information so it does not receive further exposure to public channels.
Trade secret litigation is fast-paced and requires unique knowledge of the laws that apply and the strategies that impact case outcomes.