What Qualifies as a Trade Secret?
March 26, 2022
Trade secrets are vital intellectual property used in a company's operations that are kept confidential. These trade secrets — which can include techniques, methods, patterns, programs, devices, and processes — give the business an economic advantage over its competitors.
Trade secret misappropriation occurs when someone improperly acquires, discloses, or uses a trade secret without the owner’s consent. A skilled Florida commercial litigation attorney can educate you about what qualifies as a trade secret and help you make crucial decisions when involved in trade secret litigation.
At the Law Office of Mitchell Ghaneie, P.A., I have the experience, resources, and understanding to assist clients in intellectual property-related matters, including trademarks, patents, copyrights, and trade secret misappropriation. I'm available to discuss your situation and help you understand what may be considered a trade secret and how to handle potential misappropriation.
I am here to offer you the comprehensive legal guidance and reliable representation you need to file or defend your business against a trade secret misappropriation lawsuit. My firm proudly serves clients across Jacksonville and St. Augustine, Florida.
Understanding Trade Secrets
According to the World Intellectual Property Organization, trade secrets are defined as confidential business information that gives a business or company an economic advantage over its competitors. Trade secrets may include methods, programs, software algorithms, ingredients, compilations, techniques, inventions, devices, processes, patterns, and formulas that are used for business operations but not known to everyone.
Examples of Trade Secrets
Some common examples of trade secrets include:
The Google search algorithm
The secret blend of herbs and spices for Kentucky Fried Chicken
Lena Blackburn's Baseball Rubbing Mud
McDonald's “Special Sauce” for Big Macs
The New York Times Bestseller List
An experienced Florida intellectual property law attorney can help you understand state laws addressing trade secrets.
Florida Uniform Trade Secrets Act
According to Florida's Uniform Trade Secrets Act, "trade secret" means any information, including a formula, compilation, pattern, device, program, method, process, or technique that:
Derives independent economic value, actual or potential, from not being generally known to, and not being readily ascertainable by proper means by, other persons who can obtain economic value from its disclosure or use
Is the subject of efforts that are reasonable under the circumstances to maintain its secrecy
Trade Secret Misappropriation
Under Florida law, trade secret misappropriation involves:
The acquiring another party’s trade secret by a person who knows or has reason to know that the trade secret was obtained by improper means
Disclosing or using another party’s trade secret without express or implied consent of the owner
If you believe that another party has improperly acquired, disclosed, or used your trade secret without your consent, you need to reach out to a business litigation attorney immediately. An attorney can fight aggressively to protect your best interests and help you take appropriate legal action to seek a remedy.
According to 2021 statistics, 1,253 new trade secret actions were filed in federal courts across the United States. The following remedies may be available in a trade secret misappropriation claim:
Injunctive Relief – A court order against the defendant to preserve the secrecy of the plaintiff's information and stop the violation of the claimant’s rights
Monetary Damages – The defendant pays monetary damages to the claimant to cover any economic harm suffered due to the trade secret misappropriation
Attorney Fees – Attorney fees may also be awarded if the defendant was found to have acted maliciously or willfully
An experienced attorney can help file your trade secret misappropriation lawsuit within the specified timeframe, represent you throughout the legal proceedings, and attempt to seek injunctive relief and other potential damages.
Statute of Limitations
In Florida, the statute of limitations for trade secret misappropriation is three years. This means that a trade secret misappropriation action must be filed within three years of the date that the misappropriation was discovered or should have been discovered by the exercise of reasonable diligence.
Why You Need an Attorney
Navigating intellectual property matters involving trade secrets can be complicated and overwhelming. Whether you need help filing or defending yourself against a trade secret misappropriation lawsuit, getting the appropriate legal guidance is crucial. A knowledgeable intellectual property law attorney can explore your available legal options and determine the best way to proceed with your case.
At the Law Office of Mitchell Ghaneie, P.A., I am committed to helping clients navigate complex intellectual property matters involving trade secret misappropriation or lawsuits. Using my in-depth knowledge, I will work to evaluate every aspect of your case and decide the best approach for your unique situation.
I will seek to outline an effective strategy to protect your business and its trade secrets and fight to defend you and your company against false misappropriation claims. Having me on your side can improve your chances of obtaining the best available outcome in your trade secret misappropriation lawsuit.
Contact the Law Office of Mitchell Ghaneie, P.A.
Are you involved in trade secret litigation? Contact my firm — the Law Office of Mitchell Ghaneie, P.A. — today to schedule a simple case assessment with a skilled business litigation attorney. I am ready to offer you the legal counsel, assistance, and advocacy you need to make wise decisions. My firm serves clients throughout Jacksonville and St. Augustine, Florida.