February 19, 2013 Articles

Preemption of Business Torts under the Uniform Trade Secrets Act

Courts are split on the preemption provisions of the UTSA.

By Peter J. Boyer

The National Conference of Commissioners on Uniform State Laws adopted the Uniform Trade Secrets Act (UTSA) in 1979 and amended it in 1985. Forty-seven states and the District of Columbia have enacted the UTSA; only New York, Massachusetts, and Texas have failed to do so. The UTSA provides statutory recognition and protection for information broadly defined in the statute as a “trade secret.” It also provides specific remedies, including recovery of counsel fees and exemplary damages in some cases, for misappropriation or misuse of information protected by the act. A stated purpose of the UTSA is to establish a uniform and consistent statement of the law with respect to the protection of trade secrets that applied throughout the country in those states that adopted the act. To accomplish this goal, the UTSA provides specific provisions addressing its impact on existing laws with respect to the protection of trade secrets.

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