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What is a device?

Devices are one of the explicit categories of information enunciated in the Uniform Trade Secret Act as being entitled to trade secret protection. Generally, devices include machines and the plans to build machines. When a device is sold to the public, or is publicly available, certain aspects of that device will obviously no longer be entitled to trade secret protection. Principally, this would be the aspects of the device that are readily ascertainable, such as its external dimensions. However, if that device is legitimately obtained by someone and reverse engineered, any part that is reverse engineered would lose any trade secret status it might otherwise have, as well. This is one reason why patents are the preferred way to protect devices that are going to be made public.