TRADE SECRET LAW
Trade secret protection is available under state law and federally under the Defend Trade Secrets Act of 2016. Under Maryland law, trade secrets are defined as information that (1) derives independent economic value from not being generally known to or readily ascertainably by proper means by other persons and (2) is the subject of efforts that are reasonable under the circumstances to maintain its secrecy. Examples of “trade secrets” often subject to litigation include customer lists, marketing plans, and internal procedures. Unlawful use of a trade secret by a third party (such as a former employee) is known as misappropriation. Misappropriation under Maryland law is either (1) acquisition of a trade secret by a person who knows or has reason to know that the trade secret was acquired by improper means or (2) disclosure or use of a trade secret without consent by a person who improperly acquired it or knew another person improperly or mistakenly acquired it. Disclosure of trade secrets to third parties should usually be predicated on entry of a confidentiality agreement, also known as a non-disclosure agreement or NDA.