Security_Computer_Laptop in Chain.jpegTrade Secret Saturdays is a new initiative for a weekly round-up of articles and blog posts focused on trade secrets that caught our attention or that should be on your company’s radar screen. Enjoy.   

  • Trade Secrets Loss Could Be 3% of GDP: This article provides hard-data about the cost arising from trade secret misappropriation. The report also identifies one of the main culprits behind trade secret theft to be current and former employees, who are “familiar with a company’s systems, are acquainted with where and how information is stored and know specific details on the production or use of trade secrets are one of the greatest cybersecurity threats companies face.” These findings are definitely consistent with my experience in representing companies in trade secret litigation. The findings also provide sufficient data for allocating company resources to implement or overhaul a trade secret protection plan.  
  • Filing for a Patent Versus Keeping Your Invention a Trade Secret. This article from Harvard Business Review is a great explanation about the advantages trade secret offers over patent protection. And it also provides compelling reasons for why entrepreneurs and businesses should not overlook the importance of trade secret protection. I love the example used; Wyeth maintained an exclusive monopoly on a drug long after the patents to the actual drug expired. It was able to do this because the extraction process that was critical to manufacturing the drug was not patented and, instead, protected as a trade secret. The secret sauce critical to making the multimillion drug – horse pee. 
  • Trade Secret Lawsuit Against DuPont dismissed by Federal Judge (PDF Order). A New York federal judge on 3/3/2014 dismissed a lawsuit brought against DuPont Company by a digital printing company that accused DuPont of breaching nondisclosure agreements and misappropriating trade secrets. The judge’s decision was a virtual buffet of why the trade secret misappropriation claims failed. But it was primarily based on the fact that the plaintiff failed to treat the information as “confidential.” And this failure is also a common theme when it comes to pursuing or defending against trade secret misappropriation claims. It is also a good reminder for any businesses who need to protect a competitive advantage to take the time to invest in a coherent and smart trade secret protection plan. 

For more information about trade secret protection or responding to issues involving trade secret theft, contact Jason Shinn. Jason is a Michigan licensed attorney who has addressed Michigan trade secret legal issues since 2001. He routinely collaborates with companies to establish or improve their trade secret protections by implementing best practices and, if necessary, litigates these issues.