${site.data.firmName}${SEMFirmNameAlt} Menu

Trade secrets must be kept confidential

A company in Sacramento, California may have information such as a formula, technique, program or device that needs to be protected from disclosure. Cornell University Law School’s Legal Information Institute states that this may be possible through a patent or a trade secret, but not both. The patent provides the company with the right to own exclusive rights for a limited amount of time, but the information is public. If the company opts for trade secret protection, the information is confidential unless there is public disclosure.

A person who makes that information public may be guilty of breaching confidentiality of a trade secret. However, it may be possible to prove that the company failed to make reasonable efforts to keep the information private. Forbes magazine notes that a person who discloses a company’s trade secret may not be found guilty in court if the company has not taken adequate steps to keep the information private.

Before earmarking the information as confidential, a company must clearly define which aspects must be safeguarded, and which information may be shared, if any. The specificity is part of making a reasonable effort to keep the secret. If it is not so well defined, and a company allows a portion of the information to be shared in a public forum, such as a trade show, or published online or in print in some format, a person may be able to prove in court that it was not truly confidential, in spite of a nondisclosure agreement. 

No Comments

Leave a comment
Comment Information

Contact Our Law Firm - Request An Initial Consultation

Bold labels are required.

Contact Information

The use of the Internet or this form for communication with the firm or any individual member of the firm does not establish an attorney-client relationship. Confidential or time-sensitive information should not be sent through this form.


Privacy Policy

Get In Touch With Us

Peterson Watts Law Group, LLP
2267 Lava Ridge Court, Suite 210
Roseville, CA 95661

Phone: 916-749-1431
Fax: 916-780-8775
Roseville Law Office Map