745.01 Trade Secrecy: Doctrine, Policy, Frontier Issues

This seminar introduces trade secrecy doctrine and examines the most important policy contexts in which trade secrecy are arising today. No background knowledge is required. However, students must be prepared to be quick studies of various areas of technology and law. Of the various U.S. intellectual property regimes, trade secrecy is perhaps the most doctrinally elusive. Historically a common law tort that also borrowed from property and contract, trade secrecy has become codified in state, federal, and international regimes. The codification of trade secrecy doctrine has coincided with increasing recognition that it is often the most important mechanism by which firms protect returns on innovation and/or business investment. Notably, trade secrecy (and secrecy more generally) is becoming increasingly important not only for private firms, but also for national and regional innovation and security strategies. This seminar begins with an introduction to the trade secret doctrinal canon (including a discussion of how trade secrecy intersects with patent, copyright, and data exclusivity protection). It then discusses empirical evidence on uses of trade secrecy. Next, it considers various policy contexts, ranging from cybercrime and data regulation to employment and public administration. The seminar concludes by examining frontier technology areas in which trade secrecy plays a prominent role. These include machine learning and biopharmaceutical manufacturing.

Special Notes:


Spring 2023

Course Number Course Credits Evaluation Method Instructor
Course Credits
Research paper, 25+ pages
Research paper option, 25+ pages
Oral presentation
Class participation
Arti K. Rai
Sakai site: https://sakai.duke.edu/portal/site/LAW-745-01-Sp23
Email list: LAW-745-01-Sp23@sakai.duke.edu
Degree Requirements
Course Requirements - JD
Course Requirements - JD-LLM-LE
Course Requirements - LLM
Course Areas of Practice