Trade Secrets LawClass Term:
Spring Term 2021-2022Catalog Number:
2 (2 Contact, 0 Field)Priority:
General Enrollment CourseFull Year Course:
There will be a 24 hour take-home exam.
This course will cover various aspects of trade secret law with an emphasis on practical considerations relevant to the business environment. Students will examine public policy considerations of trade secret law, compare the Uniform Trade Secrets Act (UTSA) to the Restatement Approach and to the Pennsylvania UTSA (as well as the law of other jurisdictions), and compare trade secret protection with other forms of intellectual property. We will review the elements of a trade secret and compare the types of information and the circumstances under which courts have recognized or denied trade secret protection. The rights of a trade secret owner relative to its employees and third parties will be examined in detail, including use of confidentiality agreements and non-competition agreements. Enforcement of trade secret rights will be surveyed and include civil and criminal proceedings including the Economic Espionage Act (EEA). Practical issues from the business world are strongly emphasized in this course including drafting and negotiating non-compete, non-solicitation and confidentiality agreements, establishment of business policies and procedures for trade secret protection, practical considerations surrounding the bringing and settling of trade secret cases. This course will feature presentations by various trial lawyers, computer forensics experts and other professionals who are routinely engaged in litigation involving corporate espionage and the theft of competitive intelligence. Particular emphasis will be placed on the strategy behind launching and pursuing such litigation, together with an investigation of the various ways that individuals and corporations defend themselves against such claims. This course will also explore the various forms of equitable and legal relief typically requested in such cases, with a focus on certain recent damages awards in the tens of millions of dollars. Technological advancements in securing competitively sensitive information, together with novel efforts to gain access to such data, will be studied in detail, with particular attention given to the manner in which courts have tried to shape the law in a fast-changing business environment.