I’m Reed Bloodworth, the managing partner of Bloodworth Law with offices in Orlando, Florida, and Winter Haven, Florida. I’m going to talk about the misappropriation of trade secrets which in business law refers to the loss of protection of business trade secrets.
In Florida, there is a trade secrets law that protects and prohibits embezzlement or misappropriation of trade secrets and provides certain remedies for businesses and individuals.
What is Misappropriation?
What is misappropriation? You commit misappropriation if you personally acquire a trade secret by improper–illegal means.
Or, you commit misappropriation if you publish a trade secret and you know that the person who gave you the information acquired it through improper means or under circumstances where there was a duty to maintain its secrecy or limit its use.
What is a Trade Secret?
What is a trade secret? A trade secret is secret information that offers a competitive business advantage to its owner by virtue of not being known to competitors.
According to the Trade Secret Act, a trade secret has three characteristics:
- It is secret
- It confers a competitive advantage to its owner
- It is subject to reasonable efforts to maintain its secrecy
A trade secret is information including:
- A formula
- A pattern
- A compilation
- A program
- A device
- A method
- A technique, or,
- A process
Court Remedies for Misappropriation
If a court finds that a defendant has misappropriated a plaintiff’s trade secret, it can impose the following remedies:
- Damages – meaning court orders a defendant to pay money to the plaintiff
- Attorney’s Fees – which means a court orders a defendant to pay a plaintiff’s attorneys’ fees for bringing the lawsuit.
- Injunctive Relief – meaning a court orders a defendant to stop the violation
Criminal Penalties for Stealing Trade Secrets
In addition to Civil remedies, there are criminal penalties for stealing trade secrets through:
- Breach or inducement of a breach of a duty to maintain secrecy, or
- Espionage through electronic or other means
What Are Your Legal Remedies?
If you’ve had a client, a vendor, an employee, or a competitor misappropriate a trade secret, there are legal remedies available to you.
Again, I’m Florida attorney Reed Bloodworth, managing partner of Bloodworth Law. Before you lose trade secrets that you’ve worked hard to create and protect, give me a call. Let’s talk about how we can help you or your business.