By Fredrick P. Niemann, Esq. a New Jersey Business Law Attorney
A trade secret is defined in the Act as “information, held by one or more people, without regard to form, including a formula, pattern, business data compilation, program, device, method, technique, design, diagram, drawing, invention, plan, procedure, prototype or process, 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.”
Existing New Jersey Law on Trade Secrets
The New Jersey Trade Secrets Act became effective on January 9, 2012. It is based on the Uniform Trade Secrets Act (the “UTSA”), which has been adopted by 46 other states. The UTSA establishes principles including the common law on trade secret protection. It focuses on maintaining the secrecy of innovations, as compared with other intellectual property such as patents and copyrights. The concept of a trade secret which derives actual or potential economic value from its proprietary nature and which is the subject of reasonable efforts to maintain its secrecy.
The Act also codifies and is consistent with other aspects of New Jersey’s common law on trade secrets, including provisions which (i) give courts authority to enjoin actual or threatened misappropriation,6 (ii) provide guidelines for imposing damages,7 (iii) make attorneys’ fees recoverable in cases of willful misappropriation,8 and (iv) prohibit the use of the defense that a proper means of acquiring the trade secret existed at the time of misappropriation.
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