Consider Trade Secrets to protect your Intellectual Property!

Most of my clients want Patent, Trademark, or Copyright protection for their intellectual property. However, many people do not think about Trade Secrets.  If a person or business has an important invention, or information, they may use trade secret to protect it.

Connecticut Uniform Trade Secrets Act (“CUTSA”) can be found at the Connecticut General Statutes §§ 35-50 to 35-58. The remedies for misappropriation or threatened misappropriation of trade secret include injunctive relief (e.g. the court forces the defendant to not use the information protected by the trade secret, or the defendant must not communicate with competitors of the trade secret owner).  Monetary damages are available, as well as punitive damages and attorney’s fees.

CUTSA defines trade secret as follows: “ ‘trade secret’ means information, including a formula, pattern, compilation, program, device, method, technique, process, drawing, cost data or customer list that: (1) Derives independent economic value, actual or potential, from not being generally known to, and not being readily ascertainable by proper means by, other persons who can obtain economic value from its disclosure or use, and (2) is the subject of efforts that are reasonable under the circumstances to maintain its secrecy.” Connecticut General Statutes §35-51.

So, if you have an invention a trade secret may be a good option. You should note that it is completely legal for someone to by a product that embodies the invention that is protected by trade secret, break it open, and reverse engineer it to figure out how to make the device and how the device works.  Thus, trade secrets should only be considered for inventions that are difficult or impossible to reverse engineer.

Things like customer lists, company procedures, marketing schemes, etc. are good candidates for trade secret protection. The CUTSA can be found here.

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