A trade secret is information that derives independent economic value from not being general known to, or readily ascertainable under proper means by, other persons who can use it to their benefit.  Therefore, if information is easily obtained by reverse engineering a product, it cannot qualify as a trade secret. 


In order to be a trade secret, the information also must be the subject of reasonable efforts to maintain its secrecy.  Examples of trade secrets include recipes, manufacturing processes, customer and supplier lists and product specifications, to name a few. 


There is no administrative process to protect a trade secret.  Instead, business practices must be used to maintain the secrecy of the trade secret information.  A Pennington attorney can advise you regarding implementation of business practices to protect your information.  Additionally, an attorney can assist you with drafting agreements to protect your trade secret information such as non-disclosures agreements, confidentiality agreements and certain provisions in employment agreements.  


If you believe your trade secret information has been obtained by improper means by a former employee, competitor or other individual, a Pennington attorney can advise you on the next steps to take.  Often the first step is to send a demand letter to the individual who is suspected of misappropriating your trade secret.  If the individual is unwilling to comply with your demands, a trade secret misappropriation law suit may be necessary to protect your proprietary information.  Pennington attorneys have prosecuted and defended businesses and individuals in trade secret misappropriation cases for over 20 years.