The Patent Station (sm)
Law Office of Marc D. Machtinger, Ltd.

Questions & Answers

Mr. Machtinger is an experienced Intellectual Property Attorney, providing the following professional services related to Trade Secrets:

  • Free initial telephone consultations
  • Counseling regarding protection of proprietary information
  • Non-compete agreements, confidentiality and non-disclosure agreements
  • Litigation services related to Trade Secrets

Questions and Answers about Trade Secrets

What are Trade Secrets? Trade Secrets are defined by state law, and vary from state to state. In general, trade secrets are formulas, devices, compilations of information, customer lists, cost and expense information, manufacturing techniques and processes, or any other information which is used in one's business, and which gives one an opportunity to obtain an advantage over competitors who do not know or use it. In order to be protected, the information must not be generally known to the public, nor easily ascertainable by proper means by one's competitors. The information must also be the subject of efforts which are reasonable under the circumstances to maintain its secrecy.

back to top

What efforts should be taken to protect Trade Secrets? Appropriate efforts will vary depending on the specific circumstances. Advice of counsel should be obtained to determine the sufficiency of those efforts. Some steps which might be appropriate include requiring employees to sign appropriate non-compete/non-disclosure agreements, limiting access to the proprietary information to only those employees who must have access to it, conducting appropriate background checks on employees who will have access to sensitive information, limiting and controlling access to areas where the proprietary information is available, and stamping any documents containing proprietary information consistently.

back to top

For what period of time will my rights extend, and against whom may they be enforced? Rights in a properly protected trade secret may last indefinitely until they become generally known to the public through proper means. Protection can only be enforced if the trade secret is misappropriated by a competitor through improper means. The public is entitled to "reverse engineer" a device in order to determine how it is made.

back to top

For further information, Contact Us

The Patent Station (sm)
Home | Special Online Features | Charge Your Payment |
Legal Notices | About Marc D. Machtinger | Contact Us