The federal Defend Trade Secrets Act (“DTSA”), which is mirrored by the Uniform Trade Secrets Act (“UTSA”) adopted by most states, provides employers with legal recourse after the misappropriation of their trade secrets. Whether employer trade secrets, defined as information that derives economic value by not being generally known, are illegally accessed by hackers or stolen by employees, there is no legal recourse for the theft under the DTSA if the trade secrets weren’t adequately protected. It is a necessary element of a claim for damages under the DTSA and related state legislation that an employer took reasonable precautions to protect its trade secrets. What constitutes “reasonable precautions,” however, is dependent on the facts and circumstances of each case.
Protecting Confidential Information & Trade Secrets from Employees
Not all confidential information qualifies as a trade secret. Accordingly, business practitioners recommend protecting confidential employer information from employee misuse through stringent employment contracts and confidentiality agreements. Its recommended employers insert the following clauses into their employment agreements: