19. Dezember 2020
Business secrets complement intellectual property (IR) rights. They are widely used in the creative process that leads to innovation and the creation of intellectual property rights. For example, before an invention is patented, the inventor treats it as a secret, because if it is known to all, the invention loses the necessary requirement of novelty. As a result, trade secrets are the source of patents (new inventions), copyrights (a new novel or song), trademarks (a brand new product) and designs (a new vehicle model). In Commonwealth legal orders, confidentiality and trade secrets are considered a just right and not a property right. [Citation required] The factual pattern behind this complaint is relatively common in the „world of trade secrets hijacking.“ Advanced Fluid Systems, Inc. („AFS“) manufactures hydraulic fluid systems that move heavy machinery for complex operations and technical projects. In September 2009, AFS entered into a contract with the Virginia Commonwealth Space Flight Authority to maintain a hydraulic system for a NASA missile launch system on Wallops Island, Virginia. The contract stipulated that all materials produced during the performance of the contract were „exclusive property“ of the Authority.
Subsequently, the AFS developed and produced transaction and project documents containing all the confidentiality stamps that identified it as an AFS work product. Therefore, since the protection of trade secrets can in principle be extended indefinitely, it may offer an advantage over patent protection and other registered intellectual property rights that exist only for a specified period of time. Coca-Cola, for example, does not have a patent for the Coca-Cola formula and has effectively protected it for many years as patent protections for 20 years. In fact, Coca-Cola refused to disclose its trade secret on the orders of at least two judges.  Although the Trade Secrets Act developed before 1974 under the common law, the question of whether patent law preceded the law of state secrecy had gone unanswered. In 1974, the U.S. Supreme Court adopted the pioneering decision Kewanee Oil Co. v. Bicron Corp., which resolved the issue of allowing states to freely develop their own trade secrets.  (ii) the ability to protect a wide range of valuable information, including information that would not be protected under existing patent, trademark or copyright law, another strong defence is to attack the applicant`s efforts to keep the information secret.