Although trade secrets law is, at least for now, a mix of state and federal law, the trend has been for it to increasingly become federal and uniform. This is largely a result of its increasing importance. Companies’ most valuable assets today are no longer physical plants and raw materials, but intellectual property and employee brainpower, two assets that leave no physical footprint. Assistance protecting your intangible assets is available from a Los Angeles business litigation lawyer.
Nearly all states (including California) have adopted the Uniform Trade Secrets Act, which is a standard set of trade secrets laws that states more or less adopt verbatim. The Act standardizes important legal terms for trade secret purposes concerning what constitutes misappropriation, what is the meaning of improper means, what qualifies as a trade secret, and what remedies businesses have when they become victims of trade secrets theft.
What has prompted federal legislators and the FBI to take notice of trade secrets is the increasing amount of economic espionage. In late June, a military contractor agreed to pay the government $75 million for violating export controls for almost 20 years. Those violations led to China’s obtaining software that enabled the country to create its first military attack helicopter. Federal prosecutors had alleged that the contractor did so in order to gain access to China’s civilian helicopter market, which currently amounts to an estimated $2 billion in potential sales.
Whether your firm faces threats from employees working for your company, foreign contractors or some other party, the criminals’ motives remain the same – it is much easier for competitors to steal complex, valuable trade secrets than it is to develop those assets by themselves.
Are trade secrets a vital part of your company? If so, contact our Los Angeles trade secret lawyers to learn how you can hold trade secret thieves responsible for their actions.