On January 9, 2012, the New Jersey Trade Secrets Act (the "Act") was signed into law. The Act allows courts to enjoin any actual or threatened misappropriation of a trade secret. In certain circumstances, the Act also allows courts to require that a person or entity take affirmative action to protect a trade secret.
Trade secrets are defined to include information that (i) derives independent value, whether actual or potential, from not being generally known or readily discoverable by other persons and (ii) is the subject of reasonable efforts to maintain secret. "Misappropriation" refers to the acquisition of a trade secret by improper means or the disclosure of a trade secret without the consent of the owner of such trade secret by a person who acquires the trade secret by improper means or knew or had reason to know that the trade secret was acquired by improper means. The Act defines "improper means" broadly to include espionage, misrepresentation, breach or inducement of a breach of duty to maintain the secrecy of a trade secret and unauthorized access. An action for misappropriation under the Act may be brought within the earlier of (i) three (3) years from the date of discovery of the misappropriation or (ii) three (3) years from the date that the misappropriation should have been discovered as a result of reasonable diligence.
The Act's passage brings New Jersey's trade secret protection laws in line with most states that have already adopted a version of the Uniform Trade Secrets Act.