The intellectual property fields of copyright law, trademark law, patent law, internet law tend to overlap, and trade secrets sometimes contain one or several of those elements also. However, trade secrets law is now recognized as a topic that deserves its own recognition because of the complex yet necessary steps involved in defining, preserving, and litigating it. Court cases focusing on trade secrets appeared around the mid-19th century with the case of Peabody v. Norfolk (98 Mass. 452 (Mass. 1868)). With the enactment of the Uniform Trade Secrets Act in 1979 and the different state adoptions of it, trade secrets are closer to following a federal set of rules and regulations (although no federal law currently exists and cases are argued on a state-by-state basis).
Trade secrets are crucial and sensitive information that should be safeguarded in businesses in order to uphold and protect the originality and reputation of the product or service associated with them. Trade secret materials cover a wide range, from recipes, formulas, secret ingredients to business plans and proposals, client lists, and maps, among other things. Trade secrets span many different disciplines in conjunction with intellectual property rights, such as business, education, entertainment, medical and engineering sectors, etc.
This research guides offers a list of resources that can be used to find information such as case law, statutes, legislation, and legal news on trade secrets. Because trade secret law varies by state, most of the materials give general information on how to protect, litigate, and maintain your trade secrets and highlight what intellectual property rights a person may be entitled to in that regard. State specific information are restricted to cover the state of Florida only. This research guide does not offer legal advice or counsel, or legal services referrals of any kind. Book titles include a link to the University of Florida catalog to check its availability. Online resources such as databases and e-Books that require a login and password are restricted to University of Florida Levin College of Law students and faculty only.