Metallurgical Industries v. Fourtek
(1) Secrecy is always required but beyond that there is no universal requirement. Factors to consider (1) a confidentiality agreement between the two parties, (2) the value of the modifications or secret, and (3) the cost of developing the secret or device. (why would a company spend money to develop something that you could acquire through public source)
If an idea has occurred to someone before or is even in use by another it can qualify for trade secret protection. Categories of information eligible for protection are quite expansive- they can include secret combinations and scientific and technical information, customer lists etc.
Six factors to be considered in determining whether information constitutes as a trade secret: 1) the extent to which the information is known outside the claimant’s business. 2) the extent to which it is known by employees and others involved in the business. 3) the extent of measures taken by the claimant to guard the secrecy of the information 4) the value of the info to the business and its competitors 5) the amount of effort or money expended by the business in developing the information 6) the ease or difficulty with which the information could be properly acquired or duplicated by others.
Courts have rules a trade secret was violated where the competitor stole the secret even though it was publicly available. The problem was not that the defendant acquired the information but how it was acquired.
Restatement has suggested that information used by many people cannot be a secret.