Protecting Trade Secrets in Pennsylvania
Many businesses seek to protect important company information, including intellectual property, through the use of trade secrets. A “trade secret” is broadly defined as company information that provides some form of economic value to the business and which is not generally known or ascertainable to others who could benefit economically from this knowledge. These can be incredibly important to the success of a business venture, and protecting trade secrets is a high priority for many small and large businesses alike.
At van der Veen, Hartshorn and Levin, we assist clients who are enforcing trade secrets, as well as those accused of breaching trade secret agreements. Our award-winning business litigation lawyers have more than two decades of combined experience and a long track record of success. We are recognized for our aggressive approach to litigation and our willingness to go to trial for our clients. As your legal team, we are committed to providing you with highly personalized representation tailored to the unique circumstances of your case.
Does Pennsylvania Have the Uniform Trade Secrets Act?
In Pennsylvania, the Pennsylvania Uniform Trade Secrets Act, or PUTSA, protects trade secrets. This Act was created to protect businesses’ valuable information, as outlined below.
PUTSA defines trade secrets as information that:
- Derives actual and/or potential economic value from not being broadly known and/or readily and properly ascertainable by others who could benefit economically from the knowledge and/or use of the information, and;
- Is kept secret through reasonable efforts based on the specific circumstances
Specific business information that meets these requirements is considered a “trade secret” and is protected under the law.
What Is Legally Considered a Trade Secret?
As previously stated, the Pennsylvania Uniform Trade Secrets Act (PUTSA) protects valuable business information by labeling it as "trade secrets." But what exact information does this include?
PUTSA defines valuable business information as:
- Complications, including customer lists
If any of these types of information meet the requirements set forth by PUTSA, they can be legally considered trade secrets and may be subject to protection under the law. Additionally, unique inventions, whether patented or not, can also constitute trade secrets.
Well-known examples of trade secrets include the formula for Coca-Cola, Google’s search algorithm, criteria for the New York Times’ Bestsellers List, and the chemical formulation of WD-40. As technological advances have increased the value of businesses worldwide, much of today’s trade secret litigation involves software, algorithms, and related information.