September 11, 2023

The Use of Clean Rooms to Minimize Risk and Protect Innovations

Sedona Conference: 2023 Working Group 12 Meeting


Lauren Linderman is moderating a panel on “The Use of Clean Rooms to Minimize Risk and Protect Innovations” at the Sedona Conference’s Working Group 12 Annual Meeting.

The term “clean room” is frequently used in trade secret disputes but with different meanings, needs and approaches. In the context of trade secrets law, the basic goal of any “clean room” is to ensure that the development of new products and processes is not “tainted” by unauthorized use of another’s trade secrets. But how to implement that basic goal may vary depending on context:

  • Has information already been shared by a trade secret owner with a receiving party, or is the information-sharing relationship under development?
  • Is the immediate issue limited to staffing the team that will evaluate a potential business transaction, for example, or is an organization contemplating ways to design a competing product once a collaborative business relationship has been untangled?
  • Has some independent development already occurred?
  • Is litigation possible, imminent, or already underway?

Designing and implementing a clean room can be critical to minimizing risk and protecting innovations. Using a clean room can be an effective tool to avoid or defend against intellectual property infringement or misappropriation claims. Assessment of clean room protocols can test or rebut a defendant’s independent development or reverse-engineering claim in trade secret litigation. This discussion will help:

  • Provide a foundation for practitioners to understand what a clean room is, why one would be used, and when one should be used.
  • Identify key provisions for consideration in developing a clean room protocol


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