File Folder Labeled as Trade Secret

How Can I Prove the Information Was a Trade Secret?

William B. Hanley, Attorney At Law Aug. 31, 2023

Trade secrets often comprise various techniques, methods, programs, devices, patterns, and procedures that give a business an economic advantage over its competitors. Essentially, businesses and employers are required to take reasonable measures to protect their trade secret information. In the event of a trade secret misappropriation, you may be able to seek relief through a claim or lawsuit. 

William B. Hanley, Attorney at Law is dedicated to offering comprehensive guidance and representation to clients in their trade secret lawsuits. As a seasoned California business litigation attorney, he can investigate your case details and gather substantial evidence to prove that the information was a trade secret. 

Also, Attorney William B. Hanley will represent you diligently in your trade secret misappropriation lawsuit and help you seek injunctive relief and other available damages. The firm proudly serves clients across Irvine, Los Angeles, San Diego, Los Angeles County, Orange County, and San Diego County, California. 

What Qualifies as a Trade Secret?

Trade secrets comprise all confidential corporate information that provides a business or organization with an economic advantage over its competitors. According to the California Uniform Trade Secrets Act (UTSA), a trade secret can be described as any information that offers independent economic value and that a company takes reasonable measures to protect. Some examples of information that may be regarded as a trade secret include: 

  • Methods 

  • Designs 

  • Financial data 

  • Prototypes 

  • Programs 

  • Formulas 

  • Plans 

  • Processes 

  • Patterns 

  • Compilations 

  • Devices 

  • Techniques 

  • Codes 

  • Procedures 

  • Lists of current and potential customers or suppliers 

Examples of Trade Secrets

Here are some common examples of trade secrets: 

  • New York Times Bestseller list 

  • The Google search algorithm 

  • WD-40 

  • McDonald's Special Sauce (Big Mac Sauce) 

  • Listerine  

  • Lena Blackburne's Baseball Rubbing Mud 

  • The Secret Ingredients for Kentucky Fried Chicken 

A business must take reasonable measures to maintain the secrecy of its trade secret. If another company, organization, or competitor uses or obtains the trade secret information without consent or improperly, you may be entitled to bring a trade secret misappropriation claim against the liable party or business. 

What Is Considered a Trade Secret Misappropriation?

According to California law, a trade secret misappropriation is a misuse that occurs when: 

  • A trade secret is obtained through improper means, such as bribery, theft, espionage, misrepresentation, or breach of duty to maintain secrecy. 

  • A trade secret is used or disclosed without the owner's express or implied consent. 

A practiced lawyer can enlighten you about the elements of a trade secret claim and guide you through the process.  

Elements of a Trade Secret Claim

To prove a trade secret misappropriation claim, the plaintiff must establish the following elements: 

  • The plaintiff has some valuable business information that was kept secret. 

  • The plaintiff made reasonable efforts to maintain its secrecy. 

  • The information isn't generally known. 

  • The defendant acquired the trade secret through improper means. 

  • The defendant has used that trade secret. 

  • The plaintiff suffered damages as a result of the defendant's misappropriation. 

A trust attorney can help file your claims, seek to prove trade secret misappropriation and help pursue your deserved remedy. 

Next Steps to Take

If you believe that your trade secret has been misappropriated, you should get in touch with an experienced lawyer immediately. Your lawyer can: 

  • Investigate the facts of your case. 

  • Help file your trade secret misappropriation claim. 

  • Gather substantial evidence to establish your claims. 

  • Take proactive measures to protect the trade secret information and prevent its continued use. 

  • Help pursue any available remedy, such as injunctive relief, attorney's fees, court costs, and monetary damages. 

A skilled attorney can represent you intelligently in your trade secret misappropriation lawsuit, help protect your business, and pursue injunctive relief and other possible damages you may be entitled to. 

Turn to Trusted Legal Help

According to the 2023 Lex Machina Trade Secret Litigation Report, less than 1,200 trade secret cases were filed in federal courts nationwide in 2022. Navigating intellectual property matters and trade secrets lawsuits in California can be complex and challenging. If you are trying to file a trade secret misappropriation lawsuit, you need to retain a seasoned business litigation attorney for detailed guidance and to protect your best interests. 

Attorney William B. Hanley has devoted his career to advising and representing clients in complex legal matters involving trade secret misappropriation. As your attorney, he can conduct an in-depth investigation, determine whether you have a trade secret claim, and outline an effective strategy to pursue your case. Above all, Attorney William B. Hanley will continue fighting for your rights, help you seek injunctive relief, and attempt to recover the maximum available monetary damages. 

Contact William B. Hanley, Attorney at Law today to schedule an initial consultation with a dedicated trade secret lawyer. He can offer you the intelligent representation and skilled advocacy you need in your trade secret lawsuit. The firm proudly serves clients throughout Los Angeles County, Orange County, and San Diego County, California.