A Comprehensive Overview of the Illinois Trade Secrets Act (765 ILCS 1065/)

March 14, 2024

The Illinois Trade Secrets Act (“ITSA”) serves as a crucial legal framework for protecting businesses from the unauthorized use or disclosure of confidential information. Enacted under 765 ILCS 1065/1 et seq., the ITSA establishes a cause of action for individuals harmed by the improper access of trade secrets. This article provides a comprehensive overview of the ITSA, emphasizing its definitions, legal standards, and remedies for misappropriation.

Under the ITSA, a “trade secret” encompasses a wide range of information, including technical or non-technical data, formulas, patterns, programs, financial data, and customer or supplier lists. To qualify as a trade secret, the information must be sufficiently secret to derive economic value and be subject to reasonable efforts to maintain confidentiality. (765 ILCS 1065/2). Misappropriation occurs when someone acquires or discloses a trade secret through improper means or breaches a duty of confidentiality, resulting in damage to the trade secret owner. (Liebert Corp. v. Mazur).

To establish a violation of the ITSA, a plaintiff must demonstrate the existence of a trade secret, its misappropriation through improper acquisition, disclosure, or use, and resulting damages. It is crucial that the owner takes affirmative measures to prevent unauthorized access or use of the information. The plaintiff must show that the information’s secrecy gives a competitive advantage. (Wanca v. Oppenheim).

The ITSA provides robust remedies for trade secret misappropriation. Injunctive relief is available, allowing the court to order the cessation of unauthorized activities. (Destiny Health, Inc. v. Conn. Gen. Life Ins. Co.). Damages, including actual loss and unjust enrichment, can be sought, offering comprehensive compensation for the harm caused by misappropriation. (765 ILCS 1065/4).

In conclusion, the Illinois Trade Secrets Act plays a pivotal role in safeguarding businesses’ intellectual property. To benefit from the ITSA’s protection, businesses must ensure that their confidential information meets the ITSA’s criteria and take proactive measures to maintain its secrecy. It is a two-way street; businesses must take adequate measures to protect the information that is in question or make sure reasonable efforts are taken in order to qualify information as sufficiently secret. In the dynamic landscape of business innovation, the ITSA stands as a crucial tool for fostering a fair and competitive business environment in Illinois.

For more information on what the ITSA could mean for you or your business, contact the qualified attorneys at Rock, Fusco & Connelly.