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What, Exactly, Is Software Trade Secret Theft?

By Bob Zeidman and Nikolaus Bear

Bob Zeidman is the president of Zeidman Consulting, a contract R&D firm. He is an experienced expert witness and the developer of CodeSuite®, which is now supported by SAFE Corporation. He can be reached via email at

Nikolaus Baer is a research engineer at Zeidman Consulting. He has utilized the CodeSuite® software as an expert witness in litigation involving trade secret theft. He can be reached via email at


Through our experience working on numerous high tech intellectual property disputes, especially software copyright infringement and trade secret theft cases, we have developed an exact methodology for determining certain types of trade secret theft with regard to software. It has been our observation that experts often rely heavily on the discovery of similarities in source code. These experts often use computer code analysis applications to locate portions of code that look similar and then draw conclusions based upon their analysis of these portions of code. Unfortunately, this method of analysis can vary greatly and can result in the simplistic and incorrect conclusion that mere similarities in themselves establish trade secret theft.

The CodeMatch® program that we use is one of several tools available...

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