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What does this mean for employers in the modern workplace with increased reliance on technology?
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The Uniform Trade Secrets Act (USTA) defines a trade secret as: “information, including a formula, pattern, compilation, program, device, method, technique, or process that 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 is the subject of efforts that are reasonable under the circumstances to maintain its secrecy.” Unlike a patent, a trade secret has no time limitations, so long as the holder continues to use reasonable efforts to maintain secrecy, the trade secret is protected.
The most famous trade secret is the formula for Coca Cola. Coca Cola calls this recipe, “Merchandise 7X”. This trade secret has existed since the year 1886. Trade secrets are a way of maintaining competitive advantage, and requires an effort to maintain secrecy. Conversely a patent requires the holder to publicly state how the invention works in exchange for protection, a trade secret can never be revealed to the public.
What are the facts in the below case? In this case, what is the protected trade secret? What does this mean for employers in the modern workplace with increased reliance on technology?