Legal definition of theft of trade secrets
Patent Prosecution Legal Terminology

theft of trade secrets

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“One may use his competitor's secret process if he discovers the process by reverse engineering applied to the finished product; one may use a competitor's process if he discovers it by his own independent research; but one may not avoid these labors by taking the process from the discoverer without his permission at a time when he is taking reasonable precautions to maintain its secrecy. To obtain knowledge of a process without spending the time and money to discover it independently is improper unless the holder voluntarily discloses it or fails to take reasonable precautions to ensure its secrecy.” E.I. DuPont deNemours & Co., Inc. v.Christopher, 431 F.2d 1012 (5th Cir. 1970).
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