Legal Blogs

Will a Trade Secrets Case Lead to More Disclosure of Confidential Info?

Trade secrets include proprietary information that your organization has taken steps to keep from becoming public knowledge. If your trade secrets are being shared or are at risk of being shared, you need to get help from a trade secrets attorney. The sharing of your proprietary information could undermine your company’s business model, could boost your competitors, and could be detrimental to the future of your organization. An attorney needs to help you respond vigorously to threats to the confidentiality of your trade secrets. trade secrets attorney

Brown & Charbonneau, LLP has extensive experience representing companies in trade secrets cases. We know the California laws that apply to protect businesses and we assist companies in making informed choices about how to make the legal system work for them. We can offer comprehensive advice on whether to proceed with legal action, and can represent you throughout the process of stopping disclosure of your trade secrets or seeking a remedy to compensate for losses.

One of the major issues that is addressed by an experienced Irvine trade secrets attorney is whether suing is a smart choice or whether filing a lawsuit will actually result in even more confidential information being disclosed or disseminated to an even wider audience. We’ll help you to explore this possible risk and make sure you make smart choices about how best to protect your secret information.

Will a Trade Secrets Case Lead to More Disclosure?

When your trade secrets are being shared or you have reason to believe that someone with proprietary information is going to share your intellectual property, a lawsuit seeking an injunction or seeking a remedy is a possible option. However, there is a chance that your suit could actually result in your trade secret becoming more widely known.

The big problem for defendants in California is the reasonable particularity requirement.  In a case called Diodes Inc., v Franzen, the court held that when a company wants to sue for trade secrets being misappropriated or misused, it had to describe the secrets that were allegedly being misused at the start of the case.

When California codified the Uniform Trade Secrets Act codified in California Civil Code Section 3426, this Act- in setting forth the requirements for taking legal action- adopted the reasonable particularity requirement.  The requirement was codified in California Code of Civil Procedure section 2019.210.

This reasonable particularity requirement means that before the discovery process begins when a civil case is filed, a company that wants to pursue a lawsuit related to misuse of trade secrets has to share information about the very secrets that the company is trying to protect.

According to the Diodes case, the information must be detailed enough that the plaintiff seeking to sue for misappropriate or misuse of trade secrets spells out the “subject matter of the trade secret with sufficient particularity to separate it from matters of general knowledge…” The defendant has to be able to review the provided information and determine “the boundaries within which the secret lies.”

How an Irvine Trade Secrets Attorney Can Help You Protect Your Intellectual Property

The reasonable particularity requirement is just one of the regulations that are on the books in California that can result in proprietary information being made more public by civil litigation.  Trade ecrets can also come out during discovery when the case is underway, and trials are often public so the details about the trade secrets could find their way into official open records.

The risk that more secrets will be spilled during a civil case related to trade secrets abuses is troubling because companies have to be able to use the legal system effectively to enforce laws designed to protect their intellectual property.  An Irvine trade secrets attorney can help clients to make use of the civil justice system to protect their secrets while taking further steps to avoid more proprietary info becoming public knowledge.

An attorney, for example, can file pre-trial motions to exclude irrelevant business information and sensitive information, and can move to limit or prevent trade secret information from being disseminated during trial. If the court believes good cause exists, protections such as sealing court orders or closed courtrooms may be ordered.

Brown & Charbonneau, LLP can help you to determine the best way to proceed with a civil case to protect your trade secrets. Give us a call  at (866)237-8129 or contact us online to speak with a trade secrets attorney who can provide the skillful legal help you need to ensure your company’s most private information doesn’t become public knowledge.