The Uniform Trade Secret Act (UTSA) is the federal act governing trade secrets. Enacted with the intent to stimulate adoption by states and set standards for trade secret law at the state level, the UTSA is present in most US states.
In this article, you will discover whether Florida adopted the Uniform Trade Secrets Act.
Does Florida Have a Uniform Trade Secrets Act? – The Verdict
The state of Florida has adopted its version of UTSA. Florida Statutes Chapter 688 encompasses the Florida Uniform Trade Secrets Act (FUTSA), a version of the federal act with slight modifications.
FUTSA’s purpose is to shield owners of intellectual property, ideas, and specific types of confidential information against misappropriation and other illegal activities.
A trade secret derives from a piece of intellectual property that grants its owner unique and distinctive advantages over its competition. Whether a trade secret is owned by an individual or an entity, it must be kept confidential.
For example, Coca-Cola’s recipe is one of the most important trade secrets in modern business history. If the recipe loses its secrecy, it is no longer considered a trade secret.
Florida Uniform Trade Secrets Act – As Provided by Law
Florida Statutes §688.002 (4) defines the term “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”
Trade Secret Misappropriation in Florida
To file for trade secret misappropriation in Florida, the plaintiff must demonstrate that:
- He or she owned a trade secret
- He or she applied reasonable efforts to maintain its secrecy
- The secret was somehow misappropriated
A piece of information is not considered a trade secret if it is readily available or accessible to third parties. Florida Statutes §688.002 (2) defines trade secret misappropriation as:
- “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
- Disclosure or use of a trade secret of another without express or implied consent by a person who used improper means to acquire knowledge of the trade secret”
The same statute adds that misappropriation happens if the defendant “knew or had reason to know that her or his knowledge of the trade secret was:
- Derived from or through a person who had utilized improper means to acquire it
- Acquired under circumstances giving rise to a duty to maintain its secrecy or limit its use, or
- Derived from or through a person who owed a duty to the person seeking relief to maintain its secrecy or limit its use, or
- 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”