In previous posts, we’ve looked very briefly at trade secret protections available to businesses under both state and federal law. As we’ve noted, there are many similarities between federal and state trade secret protection law, but there are also some differences that business should be aware of when determining the best strategy to protect their trade secrets.  

The federal law, unlike the California trade secret law, does not require that a plaintiff identify the trade secrets in issue with “particularity” prior to commencing discovery. However, it is possible that some federal judges on their own may require such an identification take place at the outset to frame the issues and narrow discovery.

Another difference is that the federal Defend Trade Secrets Act allows plaintiffs to request a special order for the seizure of property early in the litigation that’s “necessary to prevent the propagation or dissemination” of trade secrets. It isn’t known yet how extensively this provision will be applied in trade secret cases, but it does provide the possibility of plaintiffs obtaining relief in cases where a defendant attempts to hide misappropriated trade secrets.

Businesses, of course, need to carefully consider the differences between state and federal trade secret protection laws when forming their own approach to trade secret protection and enforcement to ensure they adopt a sound strategy.  Working with an experienced lawyer helps ensure the rights of a business in this area are thoroughly protected.