A New Tool in the Arsenal to Protect Trade Secrets

Up until recently, Florida businesses had to rely on state laws to obtain remedies, including injunctive relief, when an employee or competitor misappropriated trade secrets. This changed on May 11, 2016, when President Obama signed into law the Defend Trade Secrets Act of 2016 (“DTSA”), which creates a federal civil remedy for the misappropriation of trade secrets. Previously, Florida businesses have relied on restrictive covenants and the Florida Uniform Trade Secrets Act (“FUTSA”) to seek legal recourse. Similar to the FUTSA, the DTSA provides a civil legal remedy for businesses whose trade secrets have been misappropriated. However, there are several provisions in the DTSA for which there is not a similar counterpart in FUTSA.  For instance, this federal statute provides for ex-parte orders directing the seizure of the trade secret. This civil seizure remedy, available only in extraordinary cases, is intended to prevent the dissemination or use of the trade secrets. The DTSA does not preempt state trade secret laws, however. Thus, Florida businesses may now seek civil remedies under both state and federal statutes and, if claims under state and federal law are brought in one suit, such claims may be brought in either state or federal court.

The full text of the new law can be found at:
https://www.congress.gov/114/bills/s1890/BILLS-114s1890enr.pdf

Jennifer Fowler-Hermes
jfowler-hermes@williamsparker.com
941-552-2558