How Are Trade Secrets Protected in NY?

You can’t underestimate how significant trade secret protection can be when it comes to your business. These intellectual property rights for confidential information can serve an important role in establishing and maintaining certain aspects of any company. Read on to learn pivotal information about how the law protects trade secrets in New York. 

What Qualifies as a Trade Secret in NY?

You have a recipe, formula, or other information that’s special to your business. But you first need to know whether it’s a trade secret before you can reap the benefits of legal protection. 

A trade secret is something that you can use in your business that provides some advantage over your competitors. This can be anything from a recipe for cupcakes to a skin care formula. Basically, it’s anything that distinguishes you from the other guys: You have something that they don’t, something that they don’t know and can’t use.   

Trade secrets are governed by both state and federal law. Since New York doesn’t have any trade secret statutes and doesn’t recognize the Uniform Trade Secrets Act (UTSA), the trade secret protection stems entirely from common law. This does feature many of the same safeguards as the UTSA.

New York courts will look at six factors to determine whether the information is considered a trade secret. 

  1. Value of the information to the business and to your competitors
  2. The extent that the information is known externally
  3. The extent that the information is known with those inside the business
  4. The extent of the effort used by your business to assist in ensuring the secrecy of the information
  5. The amount of effort or money exerted by you in developing the information
  6. The ease or difficulty with which the information could be obtained or copied

Trade Secret Violations

Once it’s determined that a trade secret exists, the next step is to determine whether there’s a violation. However, the secret is entitled to protection so long as the information is actually secret; if the information is leaked to the public, it loses the trade secret protection. 


When someone uses your trade secret without your permission or straight up steals it, it is considered “misappropriation.” However, mere use doesn’t qualify; there is misappropriation if the trade secret is used without permission of the owner.  

The party who uses your trade secret information must have either obtained the information improperly or used the trade secret, which stemmed from a breach of a confidence, for instance, the information was acquired via employment relationship. 

What Relief is Available for a Trade Secrets Violation?

If you file a lawsuit, the court can issue an injunction that will stop further disclosure of your trade secret. Money damages are also available. Additionally, you may even be able to recover the profits that the wrongdoer made due to the misappropriation.  

Contact an Experienced NY Attorney about Trade Secrets

Trade secrets can make the difference in your business’ success. That’s why it’s such a shock if you believe someone has stolen this valuable asset. Get help with addressing this issue with an efficient and dedicated MOWK Law attorney familiar with trade secrets law. Contact us now to see what can be done about your case.