What Is Misappropriation of Business Trade Secrets?

Misappropriation of Trade Secrets

Trade secrets give a business considerable market advantage, which translates directly into the company’s profitability. Businesses often invest significant time, money, and other resources into developing and protecting these secrets.

If a competitor or third party steals these secrets, it will jeopardize the company’s health. However, the business does have legal recourse to seek damages by filing a misappropriation of trade secrets claim.

Whether you’ve had your trade secrets misappropriated, or you’ve been accused of the same, you need dedicated legal representation. This is where having an experienced New York business lawyer will be indispensable. The team at Rosenbaum & Taylor takes a look.

What Is a Trade Secret?

Not all companies are fully aware of the trade secrets they already possess. A trade secret is a formula, device, compilation, or process that gives one business a competitive advantage over others. Trade secrets are not generally known to the public and must be used continually to benefit the company that owns them.

Whether an item will be considered a true trade secret depends on:

  • Whether and to what extent the purported secret is known outside the business
  • Whether and to what extent it is known to employees and others involved in the business
  • What kinds of measures have been taken to keep the item a secret
  • The value that the purported secret has to the business and to competitors
  • The resources invested by the business in developing the purported secret
  • How easy or difficult it would be for others to acquire or develop the purported secret

If you suspect that your business has trade secrets, it’s vital that you take steps to protect them. The New York business law attorneys of Rosenbaum & Taylor can assist you.

What Constitutes Misappropriation of Trade Secrets?

Courts will take a look at several matters in determining whether a party has misappropriated a business trade secret.

First, a court will consider whether an individual or entity obtained the trade secret through a relationship of trust. This is often, but not exclusively, through an employer-employee relationship. However, the wrongful party may have exploited some other relationship, like a potential business partnership.

Second, the court may consider whether the at-fault party used some other means besides exploiting a relationship of trust. For instance, did the party simply steal the trade secret? Did it engage in corporate espionage or hacking? Was bribery used? While misappropriation cases are generally handled in the civil courts, criminal activity may also be involved.

Third, misappropriation could have taken place indirectly. For example, a party may have obtained the information knowing it was acquired improperly from the business that owns it. A party should proceed cautiously if it has reason to suspect it possesses or is using a stolen trade secret.

How Our New York Business Lawyers Can Assist

Has your business had its trade secrets misused, stolen, or otherwise misappropriated? Are you being accused of engaging in such conduct? The skilled New York attorneys of Rosenbaum & Taylor are here to help, no matter which side of the case you’re on. Reach out to us today to get started.

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