Stolen Info is Not Trade Secret if it Can Be Reverse Engineered

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A recent court decision offers an important lesson for companies considering bringing a trade secret claim: before filing suit, companies should ensure that their confidential information — even if it was stolen by the defendant — is actually a trade secret.

Partner Joshua Fowkes and Associate Jake Christensen published an article with Bloomberg Law’s Insights that underscores how important it is for companies considering initiating trade secret litigation to carefully assess whether their confidential information is a trade secret.

“Determining whether the confidential information is a trade secret turns in part on whether the information could be ascertained by proper means. That analysis includes considering whether any member of the public—not just the particular defendant that may have admitted to misappropriating the information—could ascertain it.” The Nevada Supreme Court recently addressed that important distinction and emphasized that a company that admitted that it stole information from its rival had not stolen a trade secret because the information could be ascertained by the public through reverse engineering.

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