Protecting Business Processes, Methods & Formulas
IP Trade Secrets
A trade secret may consist of any invention, from formula, physical device to a unique process. It could belong to a large corporation or to an individual. Trade secrets are not registered with the government, they simply represent information that owners desire to keep confidential. Consequently, unlike other forms of intellectual property such as patents, copyrights and trademarks, trade secret is a self-implemented intellectual property protection. STEVEN IVY P.C. specializes in trade secret protection. If you have a trade secret that soon will be exposed to a contractor or an employee, our law firm can draft a customized confidentiality agreement designed to firmly protect your interests. If unauthorized disclosure of your secret has already occurred, our attorney can implement a vigorous litigation process designed to obtain just compensation.
The hallmark of our practice is personal service. Therefore, we work closely with our clients to ensure that their interests are properly protected. STEVEN IVY P.C. is servicing clients in several Illinois counties, including: Cook County, Lake County, DuPage County, Kane County, DeKalb County, Will County, McHenry County and Kendall County. Our clients can meet with us in eight Illinois locations, including: Chicago, Lisle, Northbrook, Oak Brook, Rosemont, Saint Charles, Schaumburg, and Warrenville.
Duration of Trade Secrets
Trade secrets protect a wide spectrum of knowledge, from technical information to marketing plans and unique customer lists. Technically, a trade secret could constitute any information that has some value and is not generally known by your competitors. Therefore, if you have a trade secret, you can prevent others from copying, using, disclosing to others or in any way benefiting from your trade secret without your permission. Of course, you can prevent such actions by those that signed confidentiality agreements, or those who acquire a trade secret through improper means. However, this protection does not apply to those who discover the same secret independently. Also, there is not protection from those who lawfully purchased your secret and begun copying it, because once a trade secret is made available to the public, the trade secret protection ends.
Theft of Trade Secrets
Although unregistered, trade secrets protect valuable information, theft of which constitute a crime under both federal and state laws. In Illinois the trade secret issues addressing improper means and misappropriation are codified in the Illinois Trade Secrets Act. The most significant federal law dealing with trade secret theft is the Economic Espionage Act of 1996. The act provides for severe penalties to violators, including confiscation of proceeds derived from the theft, fines up to $5 million and potential prison sentence of up to ten years.