Trade Secrets, Corporate Espionage and

In an information economy in which ideas and innovation have substantial value, trade secrets are an important form of intellectual property. While trade secret law dates back only to the 19th century, trade secrets constitute a valuable and growing class of assets for U.S. and multinational corporations. They are the most important class of intellectual property for small and midsized businesses. Trade secret law is designed to both stimulate innovation, by protecting developers and creators of valuable ideas and information, and discourage unfair methods of competition. As U.S. Supreme Court Justice Warren E. Burger put it in Kewanee Oil Co. v. Bicron Corp, 94 S. Ct. 1979 (1974), the purpose of trade secret law is to maintain the “standards of commercial ethics and the encouragement ...

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