Protection Under the Commercial Torts Law
The owner of a trade secret will be entitled to protection under the law to the extent that the secret is taken without his consent, and it does not matter whether the secret was stolen from the owner of the secret himself or from another person in possession of such secret. Additionally, the owner of the secret is entitled to protection when use of his trade secret is made in violation of a contractual obligation or fiduciary duty imposed on the user in favor of the owner of the secret. Such actions will be considered “theft of a trade secret” that is prohibited under Section 6 of the Commercial Torts Law, and the owner of the secret will have a cause of action in tort against the violator.
The proper way to protect a business advantage is not always by means of a trade secret. At times, a business advantage can in fact be protected by means of exposing the secret information by registering as a patent if it is an invention that is eligible for patent registration. In such case, the information is exposed to the public in an official document, but registration of the patent grants exclusivity for a fixed period of 20 years in the territory in which the patent is actually registered.
Both protection by means of a trade secret as well as protection by means of patent registration have advantages and disadvantages. Registration of a patent is an expensive process and the protection is limited in time and by location, whereas a trade secret is less expensive to protect. However, registration of a patent affords particularly strong protection.
Our firm’s attorneys’ experience in the field of trade secrets permits us to recommend the most efficient and most secure ways to manage and protect their intellectual property, whether it is a trademark, a copyright, registration of a patent, or trade secrets.