Printer-friendly version
A “trade secret” is basically a formula like the recipe for Coca Cola , a practice or process for doing business, a design, an instrument that performs specific tasks, pattern, article, material, device, substance, or copy thereof, including any writing, record, recording, drawing, sample, specimen, prototype, model, photograph, microorganism, blueprint, map, or compilation of information which is not generally known by people outside the organization, .  Trade secrets give a business an economic advantage over its competitors.  This information is considered business secrets and is keep confidential from persons outside the organization.   
Theft of trade Secrets is when a person unlawfully and without authorization intends to deprive the owners of control of the trade secret or intends to use the trade secret for his or her own use or the use of another.
Theft of a trade secret is a class 1 misdemeanor and punishable for 1 year to 18 months in jail.  It is a class 6 felony, punishable for 1-3 years in prison if the person has a prior conviction within 5 years (see Colorado Revised Statutes § 18-4-408. Theft of trade secrets - penalty).
Many businesses that have confidential information will require employees, contractors, agents, owners and partners sign a covenant to not compete, also known as a non-compete agreement.  Many jurisdictions will require this agreement to be fair in both duration and geographic area.  For example, an agreement for an employee or partner leaving a business might be deemed unfair or unenforceable if it prevented the person from working in the industry anywhere or for long periods of time.  However, a non-compete agreement may be deemed reasonable and enforceable if the agreement required the leaving party to not work within a 50 mile radius for 12 months.