PROTECTING TRADE SECRETS UNDER THE KANSAS UNIFORM TRADE SECRETS ACT
On behalf of Hyland Law Firm, LLC posted in Kansas Business lawyer on Saturday, December 15, 2012.
In the U.S., numerous states - including Kansas - have adopted the Uniform Trade Secrets Act, (the "Act"), which serves to protect the secrecy and economic viability of certain types of sensitive business information. Referred to in Kansas as the "Kansas Uniform Trade Secrets Act" or "KUTSA", K.S.A. §§ 60-3320 to 60-3330, it defines a "trade secret" as "information, including a formula, pattern, compilation, program, device, method, technique, or process that:
(i) 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
(ii) (ii) is the subject of efforts that are reasonable under the circumstances to maintain its secrecy."
As evident from the statutory language, one of the major benefits of the Act is that it allows companies to use reasonable measures to protect their trade secrets from public disclosure, giving them owner a competitive advantage over other businesses. Typically, there are a number of ways in which a corporation can protect its valuable trade secrets. One of the most popular methods is to include a restrictive covenant in contracts with corporate employees so as to avoid disclosure of information in the event that they switch jobs to a competitor. Another method of protecting corporate information is to have customers sign a non-disclosure agreement. To illustrate, if a company has a unique marketing methodology that it uses to gain customers, they may wish to protect this information.
Overall, it is important to keep in mind that there are a variety of factors that must be determined in order to establish that a protected trade secret exists, such as:
The degree to which information is known outside of one's business;
The degree that employees and other corporate actors within the business know about the information;
The extent of measures taken to protect the confidentiality of certain types of business information (i.e. through using labels such as "Top Secret" or "Trade Secret");
The monetary value of the information to the company and its competitors;
The amount of corporate effort or funds expended to develop the information; and
The ability of others to acquire or replicate the information.
For more information on the above, it is crucial to contact a qualified Kansas trade secrets attorney in order to protect the information that your company has spent countless hours to develop. Only an experienced attorney can assist your company in determining the proper methods by which you can protect your trade secrets and other valuable information. For over two decades, I have been providing practical yet aggressive legal representation for clients facing all types of business issues, including trademark infringements and the misappropriation of trade secrets. I invite you to call my office now to schedule free consultation.