Trade Secrets

Milwaukee Trade Secrets Lawyer

In its most basic terms, a trade secret is information that has value from being secret and for which  reasonable steps have been taken to maintain  its secrecy.   An employer often will join  a claim for misappropriation of trade secrets when it  sues a former employee for breach of a restrictive covenant, or “non-compete agreement.” Trade secrets can lead to complex legal issues. However, attorney Robert Corris is experienced in trade secret litigation and knows how to attack, or enforce, an employer’s claim that information is a trade secret.

If you are an employee who has been accused of misappropriating a trade secret, or if you are an employer who wants to pursue a claim for trade secret misappropriation, call the Corris Law Office today at (414) 272-8000, send us a fax (414) 755-7050 or an e-mail (rcorris@corrislaw.com), or use our convenient contact form. We represent business  litigation clients throughout Southeastern Wisconsin, including Milwaukee, Hartland, Waukesha and surrounding areas. We pledge prompt and personal attention to your case and look forward to working with you to find a solution to your trade secret issues.

Wisconsin Trade Secrets Law

Wisconsin has adopted the Uniform Trade Secrets Act (UTSA), which is a model “uniform” law that each state can adopt with or without variations from the “uniform” model.

The Wisconsin UTSA defines a trade secret as “information, including a formula, pattern, compilation, program, device, method, technique or process to which all of the following apply:

  • The information derives independent economic value, actual or potential, from not being generally known to, and not being readily ascertainable by proper means by, other persons who can obtain economic value from its disclosure or use.
  • The information is the subject of efforts to maintain its secrecy that are reasonable under the circumstances.”

When an employer includes a claim against a former employee for misappropriation of trade secrets, it may be using the trade secret claim to try to do an “end run” around the limitations or unenforceability of a restrictive covenant.

An employer may try to claim trade secret protection for a customer list and argue that the former employee and his or her new employer should be enjoined from competing as a remedy for trade secret misappropriation.

In 1995, the Seventh Circuit Court of Appeals in Chicago gave new life to a trade secret doctrine known as “inevitable disclosure.”  The employer will argue that the employee has gone to work for a competitor in the same or similar position under circumstances such that the employee will inevitably use the employer’s trade secret information in his new employment. To be protected from this inevitable, threatened misappropriation, the employer will ask the court to enjoin the employee from working for the competitor.

Attorney Robert Corris is experienced in trade secret litigation knows how to challenge  claims that information is a trade secret by showing:

  • The information should not be treated as a trade secret,
  • The information is generally known or readily ascertainable by proper means,
  • The employer failed to take reasonable steps to protect the information, or
  • The employer has lost any trade secret protection.

Contact the Corris Law Office Today

Attorney Robert Corris is an experienced business litigator as well as a speaker and author on a variety of business law topics, including Wisconsin trade secret actions. He is ready to discuss solutions to your legal problems today.

The Corris Law Office serves business law clients, including individuals, dealing with trade secret cases throughout Southeastern Wisconsin, including Milwaukee, Hartland, Waukesha and surrounding areas. To learn more, call us at (414) 272-8000, send us a fax (414) 755-7050 or an e-mail (rcorris@corrislaw.com), or use our convenient contact form. We pledge prompt and personal attention to your trade secret issues and look forward to working with you.