UIC Review of Intellectual Property Law


Sara Ghantous


What exactly makes a patient list a trade secret? This question has been a topic of heated debate for the last thirty years. It turns out that there is no right answer to this question. Long story short: it depends. The enumerated factors in the Uniform Trade Secrets Act (UTSA) lack specificity, and the courts fan to clarify how to meet the UTSA’s ambiguous standards. Because there is no clear approach to determine whether a patient list enjoys trade secret protection, there is no way for physicians to know the proper measures to take in gathering, maintaining, and protecting patient information. In this comment, Sara Ghantous suggests that the drafters of the UTSA should add language that clarifies these ambiguities. In the end, despite the Act’s shortcomings, Ghantous concludes that the courts’ various findings can serve as a guide to defining the inconsistencies of the UTSA, and offers suggestions to aid healthcare facilities in protecting patient information.