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Loudoun County Attorneys > Trade Secrets Attorney

Trade Secrets Attorney

Trade secrets are used to protect business methods, customer lists, algorithms, and so much more. Oftentimes, the most important and valuable assets a business has are its trade secrets. They are what sets it apart from its competition. As such, it is not only important to protect these secrets by safeguarding them from the public, but also to pursue legal action if another party commits theft of your trade secret. If you have suffered the theft of a trade secret, the trade secret attorneys at Simms Showers LLP can bring the matter before a judge and pursue economic damages caused by the at-fault party’s unlawful actions.

What is a Trade Secret?

According to the U.S. Trade Secrets Act, a trade secret is:

Information, including a formula, pattern, compilation, program, device, method, technique, or process, that:

  1. Derives independent economic value, actual or potential, from not being generally known to the public or to other persons who can obtain economic value from its disclosure or use; and
  2. Is the subject of efforts that are reasonable under the circumstances to maintain its secrecy.

Common examples of famous trade secrets include Google’s algorithms, the formula for WD-40, or the recipe in Coca Cola or the “secret spices” used by Kentucky Fried Chicken. However, most trade secrets are less flashy. Examples include customer lists, manufacturing processes, business plans, computer programs, industry forecasts, databases, research and development data, maps, product and pricing information, business relationship information, and blueprints.

What a Trade Secret Accomplishes

A common misconception is that a trade secret is the same thing as a patent. While many patents are also trade secrets, a patent requires a detailed disclosure about the invention. In return, the inventor gets to enjoy a period of time when no one else can profit from that public invention. A trade secret, on the other hand, remains as such—secret. The knowledge protected by a trade secret becomes useless when it becomes public. Furthermore, trade secrets cannot protect against independent discovery. For example, if a competitor happened upon the exact ratio of ingredients that Coca Cola used, that competitor would be able to sell their product in spite of Coca Cola’s trade secrets.

How Trade Secrets are Enforced and Protected

Serious damage can be caused to a business if its trade secrets are illegally stolen. According to the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office, victims of trade secret theft can pursue the following legal remedies, through the U.S. courts, if their trade secret has been exposed:

  • Ordering misappropriation of the secret to stop;
  • Protect the secret from public exposure;
  • Seizure of the misappropriated trade secret;
  • Economic damages from the at-fault party; and
  • Legal fees.

Contact Us for Help Today

Information is the key to success, and unfortunately there are many unscrupulous individuals and companies willing to violate intellectual property law in order to get at the information, processes, recipes, and programs that you have created. To take legal action against another party, call the trade secret attorneys at Simms Showers LLP today to schedule a free consultation.

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