For many Newport Beach businesses, certain information must be kept secret from competitors. This proprietary information, also known as “trade secrets,” can be an extremely valuable form of intellectual property. The unlawful acquisition and/or disclosure of a company’s trade secrets could jeopardize future revenues and put the entire business at risk, which is why you need to consult with experienced Newport Beach trade secret lawyers immediately if you believe that your confidential information has been misappropriated. Every day that goes by is another day that competitors can benefit from trade secrets that are legally yours. In the worst cases, failure to act could result in your trade secret rights being lost forever.
What Is a Trade Secret?
Intellectual property plays a vital role for many companies that are looking to compete in the marketplace. While copyrights, trademarks, and patents are the most well-known types of intellectual property, trade secrets are also an important IP right that business owners may need to protect.
Examples of trade secrets include food recipes, chemical formulas, product designs, manufacturing processes, customer lists, and technologies. More generally, California law defines a “trade secret” as any information that:
- Derives independent economic value from not being known to the public, and
- Has been protected through reasonable efforts to preserve its secrecy.
Winning a Trade Secret Lawsuit in Newport Beach, CA
While the Defend Trade Secrets Act (DTSA) provides businesses and individuals with a right to sue in federal court when their trade secrets have been misappropriated, many Newport Beach plaintiffs choose to bring civil suits in state court under the California Uniform Trade Secrets Act (CUTSA). The CUTSA is modeled after the Uniform Trade Secrets Act, which has been adopted by most states, including California. Lawsuits filed under the CUTSA tend to be taken very seriously by California courtrooms, with judges issuing temporary restraining orders and preliminary injunctions at early stages to prevent further damage to the plaintiff.
The plaintiff in a California trade secret action should have a knowledgeable intellectual property lawyer on their side. An attorney who is familiar with the CUTSA will be ready for potential defenses, including arguments by the defendant that the information does not qualify as a trade secret, that the business did not take sufficient steps to maintain the secrecy of the information, that the CUTSA statute of limitations has expired, and that the plaintiff has no standing to sue.
What Are the Remedies in a Newport Beach Trade Secret Case?
The remedies for a Newport Beach trade secret lawsuit may include any or all of the following:
- An injunction ordering the defendant to stop using the trade secret.
- Actual monetary damages to compensate the plaintiff for any financial losses already suffered because of the trade secret misappropriation.
- A royalty for future use of the trade secret.
- Punitive damages in extraordinary cases where the defendant intentionally stole and then used the trade secrets.
- Court costs.
- Attorney’s fees.
What Is the Statute of Limitations for Newport Beach Trade Secret Claims?
The statute of limitations for filing a CUTSA claim is three (3) years. This three-year time limit on legal action typically starts as soon as the plaintiff discovers that their trade secret has been misappropriated. Or the time limit may begin when the plaintiff should have discovered that their trade secrets were stolen or used without authorization. This is one reason why it’s so important for companies to take reasonable measures to both protect their trade secrets and to monitor the marketplace for possible trade secret violations. It is also critical to speak with a knowledgeable California intellectual property attorney as soon as possible to ensure that you do not lose your legal rights.
What Steps Can California Companies Take to Protect Their Trade Secrets?
It is important for companies to be proactive when it comes to protecting their proprietary information because California law requires that reasonable measures be taken to ensure the secrecy of trade secrets. This may include safeguarding computer networks and limiting employee access to digital directories, in addition to enforcing confidentiality agreements with workers. It is also important for companies to act quickly when they suspect that their confidential information has been breached. Not only will taking these steps protect your trade secrets against misappropriation, but it will also help you to preserve your legal right to sue later if those trade secrets are stolen or disclosed.
About Newport Beach, California
Newport Beach is city located by the Pacific Ocean in Orange County, California. It has a population of around 85,000 people, and it’s within driving distance of both Los Angeles and San Diego. Newport Harbor is a semi-artificial harbor located in Newport Beach, and it stretches more than three (3) miles long. Thousands of tourists visit Newport Harbor every year to go swimming, fishing, boating, sailing, and paddleboarding, as well as to take cruises. Additionally, Newport Beach has several private and public nautical clubs, including Newport Harbor Yacht Club, Balboa Yacht Club, Bahia Corinthian Yacht Club, Lido Isle Yacht Club, Newport Ocean Sailing Association, Orange Coast College Sailing Center, and U.C. Irvine Sailing Association.
Contact the Newport Beach Trade Secret Attorneys at Tauler Smith LLP
If someone has unlawfully acquired your trade secrets, it is important that you take immediate action to protect your proprietary information. The Newport Beach trade secret attorneys at Tauler Smith LLP are prepared to help you file a lawsuit in either state or federal court to stop the misuse of your confidential information, as well as to get you financial compensation for any harm that your business has already suffered.