The Uniform Trade Secrets Act is a federal statute that was enacted with the intent of setting uniform standards for state laws governing trade secrets. Florida, among 48 states, has adopted its version of the Uniform Trade Secrets Act known as FUTSA. The purpose of the Act is to ultimately protect one’s intellectual property, ideas and certain types of confidential information.
What is a Trade Secret?
Trade secrets derive from intellectual property of another that encompass unique and distinctive advantages over its competition. Whether a trade secret belongs to an individual or a corporation, if it is highly valuable, it is most likely intended to be kept confidential. Coca Cola’s syrup formula, for example, is one of the most prominent trade secrets in modern day history. The full recipe is unknown to all but two Coca Cola employees that remain anonymous till this day. Another crowd favorite is the Krispy Kreme recipe, the secret formula, along with the doughnut’s crucial process of rolling off the assembly line warm, doughy and prepared to perfection, has also been under lock and key for over 70 years.
Prevailing on a Claim Under Florida’s Trade Secrets Act
The premise of FUTSA is to avoid acquisition or misappropriation of a trade secret that is intended to be kept confidential because of its actual or potential economic value, or the fact that its inability to recreate or duplicate gives rise to it being incredibly unique. Florida, alike federal statute, requires that a plaintiff must demonstrate that (1) he or she possessed a trade secret, and (2) the secret was misappropriated. Information that is readily accessible to third parties and even the general public can never be qualified under trade secret protections.
In order to prove a valid trade secret fit within the statutory definition, a plaintiff must assert four important facts about the particular information at question: (1) there must be a showing of some kind of economic value, (2) the value of the information is derived from the fact that it is not generally known by others who might profit from the use or disclosure, (3) the information is not readily accessible to third parties, and (4) the information was subject to reasonable efforts under the circumstances to maintain its secrecy.
Remedies and Relief
If you are an aggrieved owner of a trade secret that has been unlawfully compromised, you are entitled to relief in form of exemplary damages and injunctive relief, among other awards authorized in varying circumstances under Florida law. FUTSA has primarily been used by corporations and employers that have suffered from internal corporate espionage. Therefore, the protections of the Act ensure the preservation of business plans, secret processes, methods, commercial data and much more.