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Memorizing Trade Secrets


The earliest trade secret cases recognized that remembered information raised unique issues in trade secret misappropriation claims. However, courts struggled with exactly how to address remembered information, as opposed to information taken in tangible form. The modern trend, according to one case from the Washington Supreme Court, is to ignore the distinction and treat remembered information the same as information taken in tangible form for purposes of trade secret misappropriation claims. However, this case may have prematurely signaled the demise of remembered information’s relevance to a trade secret claim. Particularly during the pandemic era, where increased employee mobility is placing new pressure on existing trade secret law, the issue of remembered information is of increasing importance. This Article discusses the historical development of trade secret law with respect to remembered information and suggests the continued importance of the distinction between information taken in tangible form and that taken solely in memory.


Timothy E. Murphy *

* Assistant Professor at University of Idaho College of Law.