Operating a business is not without its challenges, including those that current and former employees may pose, especially concerning trade secrets. You rely on your employees to work with you to make your business profitable. As such, you expect loyalty and confidentiality when hiring employees, particularly when handling sensitive information about your business products and operations. When a current or former employee betrays your trust, you may have legal remedies under the Florida Uniform Trade Secrets Act.
You can rely on the business litigation lawyers at Kramer Green to work diligently to protect your business from employees who have breached the Florida Uniform Trade Secrets Act. We will not hesitate to take legal action against these individuals and hold them accountable for their wrongful actions.
Defining Trade Secrets Under FUTSA
Florida and most other states have adopted the Uniform Trade Secrets Act. The Florida Uniform Trade Secrets Act (FUTSA), found in Florida Statutes § 688.001 et seq., defines “trade secret” 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.”
Generally, information that is generally known or readily accessible to others is not eligible for trade secret protection. Nonetheless, a unique compilation of this generally known information that adds value to the information still may be subject to trade secret protection.
Trade Secret Misappropriation
FUTSA establishes a legal cause of action for trade secret misappropriation, which § 688.002(2) defines as:
(a) Acquisition of a trade secret of another by a person who knows or has reason to know that the trade secret was acquired by improper means; or
(b) Disclosure or use of a trade secret of another without express or implied consent by a person who:
1. Used improper means to acquire knowledge of the trade secret; or
2. At the time of disclosure or use, knew or had reason to know that her or his knowledge of the trade secret was:
a. Derived from or through a person who had utilized improper means to acquire it;
b. Acquired under circumstances giving rise to a duty to maintain its secrecy or limit its use; or
c. Derived from or through a person who owed a duty to the person seeking relief to maintain its secrecy or limit its use; or
3. Before a material change of her or his position, knew or had reason to know that it was a trade secret and that knowledge of it had been acquired by accident or mistake.
Damages for Trade Secret Misappropriation
FUTSA § 688.003 allows a party who has suffered from trade secret misappropriation to seek injunctive relief from a court to prevent further misappropriation. The injured party also may be able to seek damages from the parties who committed the misappropriation. If a court finds that the parties committed willful and malicious misappropriation, the injured party may be entitled to punitive damages up to twice their actual damages and attorney’s fees under §§ 688.004 – 688.005.
You can calculate damages for trade secret misappropriation in different ways. For instance, you can seek damages based on actual losses, such as loss of profits, loss of customers, and loss of market share.
However, damages may also be based on any unjust enrichment the misappropriation provided. One way to measure unjust enrichment is through the “head-start period.” This damages calculation compares how much it would have cost for the misappropriating party to have developed the trade secret had it done so legitimately.
Allow Us to Help You Protect Your Business Today
The business litigation attorneys of Kramer, Green, Zuckerman, Greene & Buchsbaum, P.A. are ready to assist you in protecting your business from the wrongful actions of current or former employees, including enforcing your rights under the Florida Uniform Trade Secrets Act. We know how hard you have worked to build your business and want to help you preserve it.
As a result, our objective is to take any actions necessary to protect your business for your and your family’s benefit. Contact our office today at (954) 966-2112 or reach out to us online to schedule a time to discuss your legal issues with our attorneys.