Can I recover trade secret status if the trade secret information is made public?

Trade Secret Status Trade Secrets Intellectual Property

Can I recover trade secret status if the trade secret information is made public?

The practical answer is akin to the myth of Pandora’s box: once its opened it’s nearly impossible to cram everything back in. From a legal standpoint, it is possible in certain situations to restore trade secret rights after improper disclosure. Doing so depends on the extent of the disclosure (the broader, the harder) and whether the recipients of the information acted improperly in using or disclosing the trade secrets.

Someone is deemed to have acted improperly if s/he knew or had reason to know that the subject information belonged to another and was acquired by:

(1) improper means such as theft, bribery, breach of a duty or inducement of a breach of duty of confidentiality, or espionage through electronic means;

(2) actions giving rise to a duty to maintain the secrecy or limit its use;

(3) receipt from a person who owed a duty of confidentiality to the subject information; or

(4) accident or mistake.

Thus, if someone innocently receives trade secret rights, it will be very difficult to enjoin them from use or further disclosure of the trade secrets.

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