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Course Information

Trade Secrets

This course will explore the law, theories, and policies underlying trade secrets. This body of law protects a company’s most valuable asset: confidential and proprietary business information. A company’s ability to protect things like formulas, recipes, and customer lists not only gives it a competitive advantage, but may lie at the heart of its ultimate survival. We will examine eligible subject matter, the scope and duration of protection, misappropriation of trade secrets, defenses to misappropriation, and remedies. The course will give particular attention to issues that arise with regard to trade secrets in the employment context, such as confidentiality and non-competition agreements and what happens when a former employee goes to work for a competitor. We will also explore the patchwork of state and federal protection for trade secrets; trade secrecy’s connections to property, contract, tort, criminal, and unfair competition law; and trade secrecy’s relation to other forms of intellectual property. [2 credits]