The Sixth Circuit Has Held that Federal Patent Law Preempts State Trade Secret Law When the Subject Matter of the Trade Secret is Patentable



Journal Title

Journal ISSN

Volume Title


Texas Tech Law Review


In Kewanee, the Sixth Circuit held that state trade secret law which protects a device used commercially for more than one year and which device is patentable subject matter, is preempted because it conflicts with patent law. The author argues for reversal of the Sixth Circuit’s decision in Kewanee because the federal statutes which operate to protect trade secrets indicate that Congress did not intend patent law to preempt state trade secrets law. Also, the protection offered to trade secret owners by trade secret law does not conflict with the protection offered by patent law; therefore, the Sixth Circuits holding that federal patent law preempts state trade secret law is unconstitutional. The Supreme Court of the United States did in fact reverse the Sixth Circuit in Goldstein v. California, 412 U.S. 546 (1973).



Patent law, Trade secret law, Trade secret owners, Kewanee Oil Co. v. Bicron Corp., Case note


5 Tex. Tech L. Rev. 906