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What are trade secrets and why are they important?

Many New Jersey businesses define themselves based on providing unique goods or services. A specialized item that is only available from a limited number of sources can be a lucrative element for a company's assets and income. In many cases, when a company possesses the knowledge of how to make such an item, that company desires to keep the production methods for it under wraps.

In essence, those confidential plans for a good or service are trade secrets. A trade secret must be intended to be kept secret to be protected by certain laws. For example, a commonly known recipe or basic technique for manufacturing goods could not be designated as trade secrets because the information needed to make the products is not intended to be held in secrecy.

Protecting trade secrets can be an important part of preventing unfair competition in the business world. Businesses often take multiple steps to prevent the dissemination of their trade secrets to competitors and the public. They may limit which of their employees have access to the protected information. For those employees who do have access, the business may require them to sign non-disclosure agreements that put the employees on the hook for letting trade secret information slip into the wrong hands.

When trade secrets are unintentionally disseminated or unlawfully stolen from an organization, business litigation may result. A company may sue an employee who allows trades secrets to be released from the business. A business may also sue a third party that steals such secrets with the intent of profiting from their use. Any company that fears that its trade secrets may have been compromised could have legal rights to compensation and other legal remedies. Individuals with specific questions about trade secrets and business litigation may seek the counsel of attorneys who practice business law in their areas.

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