What is trade secret protection?

As a business owner in New York, you are well-aware of the importance of keeping valuable intellectual property safe. Along with protections designed for other types of intellectual property (which can include copyrights, patents, and trademarks), proper protection of trade secrets is another essential concern.

As illustrated by the United States Patent and Trademark Office, trade secret protection is made possible by the Agreement on Trade Related Aspects of Intellectual-Property Rights. Unlike patents (which afford coverage for a specified period of time) trade secret protections can be rendered invalid at any time. This has to do with the fact that as a trade secret owner, you are ultimately liable for keeping information from being uncovered by others. To this end, only certain scenarios constitute infringement of a closely held business secret.

In the event that another party has infringed upon or misappropriated your trade secret, a few different outcomes can occur. In some cases the appropriating party may simply be banned from divulging the information in the future. However, if another business owner has made use of your proprietary information and turned a profit as a result, you may be entitled to royalty payments or even damages.

A trade secret is described as a business application that monetarily benefits one enterprise over others when it’s put to use. Additionally, trade secrets can take on a variety of forms. For example, an innovative process or manufacturing method can be considered a trade secret. When it comes to protecting your business, you must decide whether your proprietary information would be best secured as a trade secret or under patent protections. 

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