Trade Secret protection may be available under state law for things such as “formula, pattern, device or compilation of information” that is used in business and gives the owner “an advantage over competitors who do not know or use it”. Trade Secrets can be protected regardless of whether they are patentable. Inventions are as well patentable if its inventor may choose to forgo the patent application process in favor of the potential perpetual protection of Trade Secret Law.
Trade Secrets are protected when the owner has already taken reasonable precautions to maintain secrecy. Such precautions may include to limiting knowledge of the secret to employees who need to know it, by controlling the flow of visitors to the area where the secret is being practiced, and stamping as “confidential” any documents referring to such secret.
Unlike Patents, Trade Secrets do not have last a certain amount of specific term of years. Trade Secret protection continues indefinitely until disclosure of such secret has been publically made. Additionally, patent law requires the public disclosure of the means to produce an invention in exchange for a limited monopoly over such invention. Therefore, a creator or inventor must decide between Patent or Trade Secret protection. The same invention may not be protected by both simultaneously
Misappropriation of a Trade Secret is not only a Tort, but also Federal Crime.