California’s Uniform Trade Secrets Act (UTSA) protects common pieces of valuable information. Accordingly, if a company makes a reasonable effort to guard its information, and if that information is so valuable such that it is kept secret, California’s courts will generally recognize that these common pieces of data can be given protection as a trade secret. Thus, items such as customer lists, business plans, and spreadsheets can be protected as trade secrets.
State lawmakers, however, chose the word “misappropriation” in preference over the word “theft” when they were drafting the sections of the Act. There are two types of misuse incorporated into the Act's classification of misappropriation. Those misuse types are: (1) the acquisition of information by improper means and (2) the use or revelation of trade secrets. For example, if a past employee were to take or make a duplicate of a trade secret, that information would be considered to have been obtained by improper means. A skillful San Francisco white collar criminal defense attorney can help you determine the issues of your particular case.
When a company makes a claim that its trade secrets have been used, it is often misunderstood that the perpetrator must have physically taken something, such as a customer list. Under the UTSA, though, it is not necessary for a company to show that a former employee physically took the information. The Act actually provides protection to the contents of an employee’s memory, if the information falls within the definition of a trade secret. If you need a San Francisco white collar criminal defense attorney, call Chris Morales for a free consultation.