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Trade Secret Law

Trade Secrets

The area of trade secrets involves several Practice of Barnes & Thornburg, including the Intellectual Property (IP) Department, the Labor and Employment Department, and the Litigation Department. Trade secrets stem from business or technical information and know-how that has economic value because it is not generally known.

Barnes & Thornburg lawyers help provide advice and other legal services to:

  • Obtain the use of trade secrets through licensing and assignment
  • Protect the confidentiality of trade secrets through employment agreements and policy manuals with help from our Labor and Employment Law Department
  • Prevent the unauthorized disclosure and use of trade secrets through legal action
  • Defend against charges by others that their trade secrets have been unlawfully disclosed or used
  • Decide whether trade secret is an appropriate form of protection in addition to, or instead of copyright or patent or trademark
  • Help clients identify, and take steps to avoid, legitimate rights of their competitors. For example, they render opinions regarding the scope and validity of trade secrets owned by others.

When considering trade secret issues in foreign countries, Barnes & Thornburg uses a network of foreign legal counsel familiar with local practices and requirements.

Our lawyers negotiate licenses, assignments, and joint ventures; prepare and register franchise and distribution agreements; and draft non-competition and confidentiality agreements. When competitors refuse to recognize the rights of our clients, IP lawyers counsel clients on ways to protect and enforce their rights, including through litigation.

Members of the IP Department have experience litigating cases in many jurisdictions and forums throughout the United States, ranging from opposition proceedings in the United States Patent and Trademark Office to antitrust class actions to proceedings before the International Trade Commission and assisting in similar cases abroad. The litigation handled by our lawyers involves patents, trademarks, trade dress, and copyrights; antitrust and unfair competition; violation of non-compete agreements; dealer and distributor termination; and trade secrets.


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