Wednesday, May 07, 2008, 5/07/2008 07:33:00 AM

Trade Secrets Cases on the Upswing

This is not exactly scientific, but it's somewhat empirical:

If you do a search on the term "trade secrets" in the Westlaw federal database (federal district, appeals and Supreme Court cases) for 2007, 905 cases are returned. That's an increase of 20% from 2006 (754) and an increase of 231% from 1997, ten years before (273).

Now, not every one of these cases is a full-blown case about trade secrets. In some, the term may only be mentioned in passing. In addition, the Westlaw database may pick up lots more cases in 2007 than it did in 1997.

Nevertheless, it would be hard to deny that something's going on.

The numbers of cases under the federal Computer Fraud & Abuse Act are even more telling. It was mentioned in 79 cases in the database in 2007. That represents an increase of 46% from 2006's number (54). And in 1997? There was a grand total of one case, representing a ten-year increase of 780%.

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