Historically, trade secrets arose under common law. Today, every state provides some form of trade secret protection – although the level of protection varies from state to state. The Uniform Trade Secrets Act (UTSA) has been ratified by many states and has helped to establish a more uniform body of law across the country.
A trade secret can take many forms, such as a device, method, or formula that provides some competitive advantage or has independent economic value. The holder of the trade secret must make reasonable efforts to ensure that the subject maintains its secrecy.