Trade Secrets in the Realm of Commercial and Employee-Employer Disputes
Trying to determine what is and what is not a trade secret is often a complicated venture. A clear example, and one of the most heavily guarded of trade secrets, is the recipe for Coca Cola. However, the definition of trade secret can be interpreted as an all-encompassing category with little clarification as to what specific information is protected.
The New Jersey Trade Secrets Act, recently passed into law in January of 2012, defines trade secrets as:
Information, held by one or more people, without regard to form, including a formula, pattern, business data compilation, program, device, method, technique, design, diagram, drawing, invention, plan, procedure, prototype or process, that: (1) 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 (2) Is the subject of efforts that are reasonable under the circumstances to maintain its secrecy.
The Act codified accepted case law. Indeed, trade secrets have long been defined to include the any portion of technical information, designs, processes, procedures, and improvements which are secret and of value to the business holding them.