Understanding Trade Secrets in Construction Part 1
Did you hear that? It may have been a trade secret exposed. Perhaps so, but most likely not. There are a lot of misconceptions concerning trade secrets and the legal system. In this five-part article, we will first educate you on what trade secrets are defined as in the context of law. In the second, third, fourth, and fifth section, we will go into further detail about trade secrets and their role in the construction industry.
As Tampa construction lawyers, we are here to offer construction industry professionals any legal advice they may need. This includes providing insight in the area of trade secrets in the construction industry. If you need to speak with a Tampa construction lawyer, please contact us today.
The Uniform Trade Secrets Act
There are four types of intellectual property: copyright, trademark, patent, and trade secrets. Trade secrets are the least “in demand” type of intellectual property law that typically pertains to private or civil law rather than the federal rights under U.S. government patent laws. Established by the Uniform Law Commission (ULC), the Uniform Trade Secrets Act (UTSA) is the most commonly practiced legislature pertaining to trade secrets and has been adopted in the vast majority of states in the U.S. including in the State of Florida in 1988.
Trade Secrets Defined by the UTSA
By UTSA’s standard, a trade secret is defined as “information, including a formula, pattern, compilation, program, device, method, technique, or process” 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; and
- Is the subject of efforts that are reasonable under the circumstances to maintain its secrecy.”
In non-lawyer talk, this means that a trade secret is intellectual property that gives its creator a competitive edge over his competition. If this information was utilized or improperly disclosed to a third party without their consent, it may harm the owner’s business or financial prospects.
In the upcoming sections of this article, we will explore several areas pertaining to trade secrets including the elements that need to be met to make a claim, how to create a contract that protects trade secrets, and potential remedies if your trade secrets were misappropriated.