In Washington State, you are prohibited from using your employer’s trade secrets without consent. A trade secret is information that is not generally known outside of your employment. In other words, it is information that is difficult to duplicate or acquire, and information that is typically known only by employees. This may include information that your employer protects as secret. Examples of trade secrets may include customer lists, software, formulas, recipes, techniques, or process that give your employer a business advantage.
Theft of a trade secret is called misappropriation. This can occur when you disclose or use your employer’s trade secret without consent, or when you improperly acquire an employer’s trade secret, either by theft or bribery.
Your employer may seek to prevent you from disclosing its trade secret by seeking an injunction from the court. Your employer may also seek monetary compensation from you for the loss of the trade secret.
If you feel you've been subject to theft of trade secrets, or inappropriately accused of stealing trade secrets, please reach out to us. Our employment attorneys can explain to you what your legal options are.