Do trade secrets expire?

Since there is no legal way to register or claim a trade secret as part of your business, there is no way for the trade secret to expire. However, in regard to protecting your trade secrets, there are many types of contracts and documents that can be used and those may have expiration limitations.

For assistance in determining the best strategies for protecting your trade secrets you should speak to an experienced Los Angeles business law attorney. They can help explain the various ways other companies have gone about protecting their trade secrets and suggest the best solution for your business.

Documents for Protecting your Trade Secrets

Many companies rely on the trust of their top executives for protecting their trade secrets. The information should be only known by those trustworthy individuals who have a reason to know it. Not all higher management may need to know a certain trade secret.

For example, the VP of Marketing doesn’t really need to know the specific blend of spices that goes into a batch of KFC batter; they can perform their job quite well without it.

When an employee is trusted with all or even part of a trade secret, the company has the right to require them to sign a non-compete or non-disclosure contract. This contract, which can be drawn up with the help of a Los Angeles business law attorney, essentially has the employee agree to their understanding of the restrictions regarding trade secret disclosure.

By signing this agreement, the employee acknowledges they are prohibited from taking the trade secret to any other competing business, whether by disclosing it to another party at an established company or by forming their own business.

In many instances, the non-compete contract has an expiration of a certain number of years the employee cannot work for a competing organization, so this sort of protection for your trade secret would in essence have an expiration date.

The Uniform Trade Secrets Act

The Uniform Trade Secrets Act (UTSA) was passed in 1996 and was adopted by 46 states, Washington D.C., and the U.S. Virgin Islands for help in the protection of trade secrets. The act defines a trade secret and what constitutes misappropriation of the secret. When a lawsuit is brought about under the act, the prosecution treats the trade secret similar to stolen goods.

In essence, the trade secret “goods” being leaked can potentially cause lost revenue as if a product shipment were missing from a company inventory. Because there may be a statute of limitations regarding the prosecution of this type of crime, you should consult with a Los Angeles business law attorney quickly to determine your options, should your business find the security of their trade secrets has been compromised.

Help from Los Angeles Business Law Attorneys

A Los Angeles business law attorney from the ADLI Law Group P.C. will be there for your business to help take care of all your trade secret matters. We have formed lasting relationships with businesses across Los Angeles County and internationally in Europe, Asia, and the Middle East. Contact us today for experienced help with protecting your trade secrets – 213-223-2365.