Since trade secrets are typically a matter of state law, the definition of a trade secret and the protections afforded trade secrets differ according to jurisdiction.
For example, in New York, a trade secret is 'any formula, pattern, device or compilation of information which is used in one's business and which gives (the owner) an opportunity to obtain an advantage over competitors who do not know or use it'.
Moreover, wrongful disclosure constitutes 'disclosure or use of a trade secret of another without express or implied consent by a person who' improperly acquired the information or who knew that the information was obtained from a person who used 'improper means to acquire it'.
(5) Section 757 of the Restatement and its accompanying comments attempted to synthesize the amalgam of trade secret case law by offering a general definition of what constituted a trade secret, (6) explaining the level of secrecy required to qualify for trade secret protection, (7) determining in which situations the receipt of classified information could be viewed as an impropriety, (8) and suggesting remedies for trade secret misappropriation.
A logical approach, then, is to look at the UTSA's definition of a trade secret, a definition that evinces a higher degree of objectivity and expansiveness than the one the First Restatement supplied.
(12) A careful reading of this definition suggests three main criteria that must be met before information can be termed a trade secret under the UTSA.
Twenty years ago, stealing a trade secret
would often involve taking a compendium of documents.
A trade secret requires that the owner of the information must have taken reasonable and active measures to protect the information from becoming known to unauthorized individuals.
Individuals may receive fines of up to $500,000 and an imprisonment sentence of up to 15 years for economic espionage benefitting foreign entities and fines of up to $5 million and imprisonment for up to 10 years for the theft of a trade secret.  Organizations may receive fines up to $10 million for economic espionage and up to $5 million for the theft of a trade secret.
The term owner, with respect to a trade secret, means the person or entity in whom or in which rightful legal or equitable title to or license in the trade secret is reposed.
(11) There is no bright line test for determining whether particular information is a trade secret, and the determination depends upon the specific circumstances at the particular point of time when its disclosure is at issue.
Under Tax Court Rule 103(a)(7), the Tax Court can issue a protective order "that a trade secret or other information not be disclosed or be disclosed only in a designated way." This rule was derived from Rule 26(c)(7) of the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure,(12) which authorizes a district court to issue a protective order "that a trade secret or other confidential research, development, or commercial information not be disclosed or be disclosed only in a designated way." (13)
The courts have developed a flexible standard for determining whether particular information constitutes a trade secret for purposes of issuing a protective order.
Section 1832 punishes the theft, misappropriation, wrongful conversion, duplication, alteration, destruction, etc., of a trade secret. The section also punishes attempts and conspiracies.
To successfully pursue a case under this section, prosecutors must show both that the accused specifically intended to convert a trade secret to the economic benefit of someone other than the rightful owner and intended to or knew that the offense would harm or injure the rightful owner.