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Episode 15 of Greenberg Traurig’s Trade Secret Law Evolution Podcast Explores What Constitutes a Trade Secret, the Meaning of Misappropriation, and Uniform Trade Secret Act 'Preemption'

LOS ANGELES – Jan. 16, 2020 – Global law firm Greenberg Traurig, LLP released Episode 15 of its Trade Secret Law Evolution Podcast, “What Constitutes a Trade Secret, the Meaning of Misappropriation, and Uniform Trade Secret Act ‘Preemption.’”

Greenberg Traurig Shareholders Jordan D. Grotzinger and Ashley M. Farrell Pickett discuss factors bearing on whether information is sufficiently “unknown” to constitute a trade secret and examine the meaning of misappropriation. Grotzinger and Farrell Pickett also address the doctrine of trade secret “preemption.”

Key takeaways include:

  • Consider the Restatement factors, in addition to the statutory elements of a trade secret, when arguing that something is or is not a trade secret.
  • Information generated from independent sources is generally not a trade secret.  This is consistent with the rule that reverse engineering is permissible under trade secret law.    
  • General language in a contract prohibiting disclosure of a business’s information will not automatically render that info a trade secret.  If you want to protect information, your contract language and policies should be reasonably specific (e.g., a corporate policy that certain kinds of information or documents should be treated confidentially).     
  • Misappropriation requires more than use of information a defendant learned on the job with the plaintiff.  The information must have been acquired by improper means or under circumstances imposing a duty to maintain secrecy.  
  • Uniform Trade Secret Act “preempts claims based on the same nucleus of facts as trade secret misappropriation.”

 The Trade Secret Law Evolution Podcast is designed to help business leaders, in-house counsel, and entrepreneurs stay current on trade secret law, to help them protect their companies’ most valuable assets. Each episode addresses recent developments in the law and concludes with key takeaways. The podcast is available on the Greenberg Traurig website, as well as on Apple Podcasts, Stitcher, and Spotify.

The Trade Secret Law Evolution Podcast was created by Grotzinger, who co-chairs Greenberg Traurig’s Los Angeles Litigation Practice. Grotzinger is a business trial lawyer focusing on trade secret law, consumer class action defense, financial services, and entertainment litigation in federal and state courts.

Links to select prior episodes:

About Greenberg Traurig, LLP: Greenberg Traurig, LLP (GT) has approximately 2,100 attorneys in 41 locations in the United States, Latin America, Europe, Asia, and the Middle East. GT has been recognized for its philanthropic giving, diversity, and innovation, and is consistently among the largest firms in the U.S. on the Law360 400 and among the Top 20 on the Am Law Global 100. Web: Twitter: @GT_Law.