What is Trade Name Dilution in Nevada?

Under Nevada law “the owner of a mark that is famous in this State may bring an action to enjoin commercial use of the mark by a person if such use: (a) Begins after the mark has become famous; and (b) Causes dilution of the mark.”  NRS 600.435See also Mattel, Inc. v. MCA Records, Inc., 296 F.3d 894, 903 (9th Cir. 2002) (“Whereas trademark law targets interference with the source signaling function of trademarks, dilution protects owners from an appropriation of or free riding on the substantial investment that they have made in their marks.”).

Jay Young Named Las Vegas, Nevada “Lawyer of the Year”

Jay Young Named Las Vegas, Nevada "Lawyer of the Year" by Best Lawyers for Arbitration

Royal Oak, Mich., August 20, 2020 – The Royal Oak, Michigan-based law firm Howard & Howard announced today that thirty of its attorneys were selected for inclusion in The Best Lawyers in America© 2021 and five of our attorneys were included in the inaugural edition of Best Lawyers®: Ones to Watch.

The firm also announced that top Las Vegas, Nevada mediator and arbitrator Jay Young has received the prestigious “Lawyer of the Year” award. According to Best Lawyers, “only a single lawyer in a specific practice area and location is honored with a “Lawyer of the Year” designation.” Mr. Young is recognized as the top attorney in practice area of Arbitration.

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What is a Trade Secret in Nevada?

The Nevada Uniform Trade Secrets Act (“NUTSA”) defines exactly what is considered as protected confidential information in Nevada Revised Statutes 600A.030:

5. “Trade secret” means information, including, without limitation, a formula, pattern, compilation, program, device, method, technique, product, system, process, design, prototype, procedure, computer programming instruction or code that:

(a)  Derives independent economic value, actual or potential, from not being generally known to, and not being readily ascertainable by proper means by the public or any other persons who can obtain commercial or economic value from its disclosure or use; and

(b)  Is the subject of efforts that are reasonable under the circumstances to maintain its secrecy.

Employees and Trade Secrets in Nevada

Even without a non-disclosure agreement, confidential information obtained by an employee during employment by reason of his or her position cannot be used or disclosed to the detriment of the employer.  “An employee is obligated not to reveal employer’s confidential information during employment and after termination of employment.”[1]  Nevada codified the Uniform Trade Secret Act (“UTSA” or “NUTSA”) at NRS 600A et. seq.  There is a split of authority whether confidential information is protected if it is not covered by NUTSA.  These materials will treat all protected confidential commercial information as being contained in NUTSA and all others to be unprotected information.

At termination of employment, an employee who misuses confidential information (customer lists, formulas, etc.), is precluded from using the information and is required to return the materials to the employer.[2]   An employer, therefore, at common law, has some protection against disclosure of confidential information even without a valid non-disclosure agreement.  “However, an employee can use to his or her own advantage all the skills and knowledge commonly used in the trade that the employee acquired during the employee’s tenure of employment.”[3]

For information regarding the prosecution of a former employee who steals trade secrets, see http://nevadalaw.info/misappropriation-trade-secrets-nevada/ and http://nevadalaw.info/elements-for-a-claim-of-misappropriation-of-trade-secrets-in-nevada/.

[1] 27 Am.Jur.2d Employment Relationship § 224.

[2] 27 Am.Jur.2d Employment Relationship § 226 (citing NCH Corp. v. Broyles, 749 F.2d 247 (5th Cir. 1985); Advanced Magnification Instruments, Ltd. v. Minutemen Optical Corp., 522 N.Y.S.2d 287, 135 A.D.2d 889 (3d Dept. 1987); Gonzales v. Zamora, 791 S.W.2d 258 (Tex. App. Corpus Christi 1990)).

[3] Id. (citing Service Center of Chicago, Inc. v. Minogue, 180 Ill.App.3d 447, 535 N.E.2d 1132 (1989)).