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How can intellectual property be protected in Florida?

Developing intellectual property is an important part of owning your business in Miami, Florida, and preventing competitors from accessing this information is just as critical as keeping tangible assets from being stolen. According to the U.S. Small Business Administration, these trade secrets are protected by law when they are economically valuable to your company and could benefit another company if it possessed the information, creating unfair competition in the marketplace.

When employees must have access to the private information in order to perform their job functions, it is a good idea for you to have them sign nondisclosure or noncompete contracts so that you have evidence in the case of a confidentiality agreement dispute. Any paper files containing information on trade secrets should be kept in a locked storage container such as a file cabinet, and access to electronic files should be limited.

To be considered a trade secret, the confidentiality is significant because the information is not readily available or replicable by another company. Your trade secret could be a list of your customers or clients, or it could take the form of any of the following:

  •          Formulas or recipes
  •          Compilations of technical data
  •          Programs or processes
  •          Devices
  •          Techniques or methods

The Florida Uniform Trade Secrets Act states that if the trade secrets are shared and another company benefits from them, you may be able to file an injunction that prevents that company from using them. If they have already been used, the court may award you damages for the loss. The statute of limitations for filing an intellectual property dispute is three years after the discovery that your information was misappropriated or that the misappropriation should have been discovered by a reasonable person. This information about intellectual property is for educational purposes only and is not intended to provide legal advice.

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