Uniform Trade Secrets Act Preemption: An Obscure Doctrine Finally Gets Its Day in Court


In the last five years, the preemption doctrine of the Uniform Trade Secrets Act (the “UTSA”) has become a force to be reckoned with in cases alleging theft of confidential business information. Reported cases addressing UTSA preemption were as scarce as hens’ teeth in the decade following the 1985 adoption of the Uniform Act. A quick Westlaw search revealed 8 reported decisions nationwide between 1985 and 1995. In contrast, there have been

approximately 20 reported cases in the last 6 months alone.

This groundswell of judicial activity is no accident. A fundamental disagreement has emerged over the extent to which the UTSA displaces common law and statutory causes of action based upon theft of confidential information.

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DISCLAIMER: Because of the generality of this update, the information provided herein may not be applicable in all situations and should not be acted upon without specific legal advice based on particular situations.

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