Trade Secrets: readily ascertainable

Question: Can information be a trade secret if it is readily available but not generally known in the industry?

  • Old Restatement of Torts (1939) and Roman-Haas case: YES (no concept of readily ascertainable).
  • Uniform Trade Secret Act: NO, once it is readily ascertainable then it is not a trade secret.
  • Modern Restatement of Torts: NO. Once readily ascertainable by proper means then no longer a secret. Plus, when info is readily ascertainable from public sources, actual resort to the public domain is a mere formality.
  • In California: eliminated "readily ascertainable" language from the UTSA, and changed it to a defense: "readily ascertainable" can be evidence that something is generally known.
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