Class Notes 3/9/2011 (Fernando Rodriguez)

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In addition to patents there are other forms of IP in the United States

  1. Patent-Federal
  2. Copyright-Federal
  3. Trademarks-Federal
  4. Trade Secret- State Law, varies by state

Trade Secrets-Federal Law

Trade secret is a term that is usually understood means a secret formula or process, not patented (it wouldnt be secret no more), known only to certain individuals, who use it, manufacturing some article of trade value. It is rarely if ever used to denote the mere privacy with which an ordinary commercial business is carried on.

What is the use of a trade secret? it is a property right: protection against unauthorized disclosure and if it is disclosed can recieve monetary compensation

This is the law of torts.

One is liable when he or she uses or discloses a trade secret if a) he discovered it by improper means b)the disclosure or use is a breach of confidence c) he learned of it from a 3rd person with knowledge that it was a secret and the 3rd party was breaching his duty d) he had notice it was a secret the disclosure was a mistake

Contrast with patents

  1. Trade Secrets do not protect against
    1. Reverse Engineering
    2. independent development
  1. Patents require non-obviousness, which is a fairly high standard. Trade secret depending on the state, may only need to be marginally removed from common knowledge
  1. No filing requirements

Copyright

Title 17 USC

Covers original works of authorship
Fixed intangible medium