Skip to main content

Trade Secret Law Research Guide: Introduction

Introduction to Trade Secret Law Research

Trade secret law allows business owners to protect proprietary information without obtaining or relying on patent or copyright protection.  The proprietary information may be outside the scope of patent or copyright protection, or business owners may want to avoid the limitations of patent and copyright law, especially the disclosure requirements.  Trade secret law derives from state common law.  Most state laws are based on the Uniform Trade Secrets Act (UTSA), but trade secret law is also treated in the Restatement (First) of Torts and the Restatement (Third) of Unfair Competition.  

Trade secret law research involves primary legal sources such as state statutes and cases.  In most instances, it is best to begin your research with a review of secondary sources and practice aids such as research guides, background materials, treatises, and law review articles. Secondary sources help you frame your questions before you begin researching "the law" and often provide references to primary sources, rules, or forms. As you continue your research, you may want to consult current awareness tools to keep current on legal developments that may affect your research.

This guide is designed to point out the best sources available for trade secret law research at BU.  Some of the resources are free Internet sources, but many are subscription services available to members of the BU Law community.  Where possible, this guide will link to other guides which can provide even more detail or resources on a particular subject. 

Keep Current in Trade Secret Law

I want to ...

Find an Overview of Trade Secret Law for a Specific State

1. Find a Practice Series for your State (ex. Massachusetts Practice)

2. Use the Index to find a discussion of Trade Secret Law

3. Locate the appropriate section(s) in the main volume

Need more? Check out the Secondary Sources tab.

Find the Uniform Trade Secrets Act

1. Either on Westlaw or in Print, go to the Uniform Laws Annotated

2. Use the Table of Contents to fnd the Uniform Trade Secrets Act

Need more? Check out the State Trade Secret Law tab.

Find Trade Secret Laws from Multiple States to Compare

1. Open

2. Find the 50 State Surveys

3. Browse the Table of Contents to find Trade Secrets

Need more? Check out the State Trade Secret Law tab.

Find an Overview of Trade Secret Law in Another Country

1. On WestlawNext, find Trade Secrets Throughout the World

2. Select the country of interest from the Table of Contents

Need more? Check out the Foreign & International Law tab.

Subject Guide

Jenna Fegreus