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Understanding Florida’s Trade Secret Laws

As a successful business owner, one of your goals is to set yourself apart from your competition. However, if your trade secrets have been leaked to competitors or the general public, you could see a significant decrease in business. Understanding Florida’s trade laws puts you in a position to protect your company’s secrets and your livelihood.

What is a Trade Secret?

The term “trade secret” is clearly defined by Florida state law. Per state law, a trade secret is information, including:

  • Patterns
  • Compilations
  • Programs
  • Formulas
  • Devices
  • Methods
  • Processes

This information must:

  • Derive actual or potential economic value by not being generally available or known to others
  • Be the subject of an owner’s efforts to maintain its secrecy
  • Be the subject of resources put forth by a company to develop it further
  • Be difficult to duplicate or recreate

Florida courts have seen numerous cases covering trade secrets, further detailing what does and does not fall under this umbrella definition. Covered information includes source code, CAD drawings, formulas for sales information, and client lists.

The Uniform Trade Secret Act

Florida is one of many states that have signed the Uniform Trade Secrets Act. This act aims to set clear national standards for trade secrets. Additionally, this act aims to protect individuals’ and companies’ innovative ideas. If you can demonstrate that something created or developed by your company is a trade secret, you may be able to take legal action if it is misappropriated.

The Misappropriation of Trade Secrets

Misappropriation refers to the misuse or theft of trade secrets. There are several ways that a company or individual can misappropriate another’s resources or secrets. Someone might disclose a company’s trade secret publicly or to competitors. If someone utilizes a trade secret that they should have known was obtained illegally, they are also guilty of misappropriation. This prevents companies from claiming ignorance and avoiding the consequences of using another company’s trade secrets. It can be difficult to determine what someone “should have known,” which is why it’s important to work with a business attorney with experience in trade secret protection.

Your Legal Options

If you’ve been victimized by the dissemination or use of your trade secrets, you may be able to seek compensation. However, it is important to act quickly. There is a three-year statute of limitations in Florida, and if you wait too long, you could lose your right to compensation. Depending on the circumstances of your case, you could seek damages for direct losses suffered by your company, punitive damages, attorney fees, and the profits earned by the company using your trade secrets.

If someone has utilized your trade secrets to enrich their own business, they must be held accountable. Contact Trembly Law at (305) 431-5678 to schedule a meeting with one of our attorneys.

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