What Qualifies As A Trade Secret?
Trade secrets can include a wide variety of confidential business information. Ranging from scientific formulas and computer codes to marketing plans and pricing strategies, these truly innovative ideas are often among a company’s most valuable assets. The law allows for these ideas to be protected as trade secrets. It gives businesses a real incentive to innovate. Your company’s intangible assets need legal protection. If you have any questions or concerns about trade secrets, please contact an experienced West Palm Beach business litigation attorney.
Florida Trade Secret Law
Most states, including Florida, have signed the Uniform Trade Secrets Act (UTSA). The act was designed to bring clarity and uniformity to the trade secret laws around the country. If your business information is going to qualify for trade secret protection in Florida, it must meet certain broad standards:
- The information must not be widely known outside of your company;
- Your company must have put forth resources to have developed the information;
- Your company must have made proactive efforts to protect the secrecy of the information;
- The information must have value to your company and potential value to your competitors; and
- And, it must be difficult to independently recreate or duplicate the information.
Ultimately, trade secret law protects innovative ideas and information that your business expended real resources to create.
My Trade Secret Was Stolen, What are My Legal Options?
Florida’s UTSA uses the term misappropriation to refer to the unlawful use or dissemination of trade secrets. Under the law, there are two types of misappropriation. First, it is against the law to disclose a company’s trade secret without the company’s consent. Further, it is against the law to use a trade secret that you should have known was acquired by unlawful means. The phrase ‘should have known’ is extremely important. Florida uses a constructive knowledge standard for trade secrets instead of an actual knowledge standard. This means that offending businesses cannot get away by merely pleading ignorance in misappropriated trade secret cases. If your company was the victim of trade secret misappropriation, you could be entitled to substantial compensation. Specific categories of compensation include:
- The direct losses sustained by your company;
- The unjust profits of the offending company;
- Reasonable attorneys’ fees, and, in severe cases; and
- Punitive damages.
Finally, as with most legal matters, time is always a relevant factor. Florida has a three year statute of limitations to bring a misappropriation of trade secrets claim. Do not mess around with this deadline; if your company’s trade secret rights have been violated, you should act today.
Contact An Experienced West Palm Beach Business Litigation Attorney
Trade secrets are valuable and you should take steps to ensure that they are adequately protected. The experienced West Palm Beach attorneys at Pike & Lustig, LLP can help your business protect confidential information going forward and can help you get justice if your trade secrets have been stolen. You can learn more about trade secrets under Florida law by contacting our West Palm Beach Office at (561) 855-7575.