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NAJI: 50 State Report Card: Protection of IP Rights Under State Trade Secret Laws

This report card evaluates the effectiveness of laws in 50 states in protecting manufacturers’ trade secrets and the jobs that depend on them.


Trade secrets are more important than ever to manufacturers both small and large. Companies rely on trade secrets to innovate, compete, and succeed. However, increasing amounts of trade secret theft by competitors, nation states, malicious insiders, and cyber criminals are undermining fair competition and reducing return on investments. Estimates of the annual cost of trade secret misappropriation for U.S. companies are as high as $480 billion.

With the enactment of the Defend Trade Secrets Act on May 11, 2016, trade secret owners have access to the federal courts in addition to state courts for the first time. However, state laws prohibiting the theft or unlawful disclosure of trade secrets will continue to be an important tool that manufacturers can use to enforce their rights. We have evaluated each state’s statutes using 11 criteria to determine which states have the strongest laws and which have the weakest. Here is how the states stacked up:

Report Card

State Grade State Grade State Grade
Montana A- Delaware C+ Indiana C-
South Carolina A- Florida C+ Iowa C-
Texas A- Georgia C+ Minnesota C-
Vermont A- Illinois C+ New Mexico C-
Ohio B+ Kentucky C+ North Dakota C-
California B Maine C+ Virginia C-
Nevada B Maryland C+ Wisconsin C-
Pennsylvania B New Hampshire C+ Connecticut D+
Washington B North Carolina C+ Idaho D+
Mississippi B- Oklahoma C+ Kansas D+
Missouri B- Rhode Island C+ Michigan D+
New Jersey B- South Dakota C+ Nebraska D
Oregon B- Utah C+ Massachusetts D-
Tennessee B- West Virginia C+ Alaska F
Wyoming B- Alabama C Arkansas F
Colorado C+ Arizona C- Louisiana F
D.C. C+ Hawaii C- New York F


Link to download full report card: protection-of-ip-rights-under-state-trade-secret-laws_naji_2016-10-05

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