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Protecting Your Business With the Idaho Trade Secrets Act

By Lane V. Erickson, Idaho Business Lawyer

At the Racine law office, our premier team of Idaho business law attorneys have assisted clients for over 70 years in the creation and operation of their successful businesses. We recognize that our clients create businesses to be successful. We also understand that the business world is competitive, and many of our clients are working to find ways to have a competitive edge so that their business can continue to succeed. We work to know the needs our clients and to help our clients utilize existing Idaho law to protect their business interests.

To be successful, many times businesses will create a specific product, or process, or service, that is unique to their business. Additionally, business clients often spend a good deal of time and money on research or to create customer lists and contact information of their clients. Idaho recognizes that each of these things has value to a business owner. As a result, Idaho has created specific laws to protect business owners concerning their products, processes, services, as well as their research and information. The main laws designed to protect businesses who have created or utilize these types of things is the Idaho Trade Secrets Act which is often referred to simply as the ITSA.

The purpose of this article is to introduce you to the ITSA and to explain how it can be used to protect your business interestS. Additionally, this article will explain your rights and the options you have if someone begins wrongfully using your protected products, services, or information.

What is the Idaho Trade Secrets Act?

The ITSA can be found in Idaho’s statutes at Idaho Code §§ 48-801 et seq. At its core, the ITSA is designed to protect very specific things which include: formulas, patterns, compilations, programs, computer programs, devices, methods, techniques, processes, products, and services that are unique. (See I.C. § 48-801(5)).

The definitions in the statutes provided in this code section provide a good deal of additional information about what constitutes a trade secret. Additionally, these statutes are very specific about the importance of keeping a trade secret secret so that it maintains its value by not being generally known. In fact, something cannot be a trade secret if it is not protected, or it is generally known, or it is easily ascertainable by proper means. The easiest example based on the definitions would be a computer program. If a business created a computer program that it uses either in its marketing, or in its production, or in it how it contacts customers, that computer program would be a protected trade secret. If an outside party, or a current employee or anyone other than the business owner took and used that computer program in a competing way, this would be a violation of the ITSA.

How Does it Protect Your Business?

The next question that most business owners want to discuss his how the ITSA protects their business. Based on the applicable statutory language, it is a violation of the law if any party misappropriates, uses, or discloses a trade secret that exists for a business. Again, the real key here is whether or not the trade secret is in fact a secret or whether it can be reasonably ascertained in proper ways or if the information is already generally known to the public. If something really is a trade secret then it cannot be taken or used by outside parties. This would include former employees or other individuals within the business itself as well as parties or individuals outside of the business.

The ITSA protects legitimate businesses and their trade secrets from being taken or used by competing businesses. The ITSA provides strong language that allows a business that is the victim of a violation of the ITSA to use the legal system and process to collect damages for that misappropriation. Those damages could be based on actual damages that the business suffered as a result of the misappropriation, as well as potentially other damages that may exist. Additionally, the statute allows the business owner to collect all of its attorney’s fees and litigation cost associated with protecting and maintaining its trade secrets.

What to Do If Your Trade Secrets Are Being Used?

Our premier team of Idaho business attorneys have assisted clients in taking the steps necessary to protect their trade secrets and in pursuing legal remedies when a violation of the ITSA has occurred. The number one thing to remember is that if you believe your business has been victimized, you should contact a qualified attorney as quickly as possible. The attorney should that explain the legal options that exist and the steps that should be taken to immediately protect the business and its legitimate interests from additional violations.

The steps that are often taken include demand letters, seeking immediate temporary restraining orders or injunctions and if necessary, the filing of litigation within Idaho’s courts. The worst thing that can happen is that you do nothing. When this occurs, it’s likely that your business will continue to be victimized as your legitimate trade secrets are used by your competition.

We have assisted numerous business owners. Only in the creation of their business but also in protecting their legitimate business interests. This often includes dealing with Trade Secrets and the ITSA to protect the business interests of our clients. We have the skill, experience, and knowledge necessary to help in any way. If you are concerned about your business and the ITSA we are confident that we can help you too!

Enlist an Idaho Business Attorney to Help You

Our team of Idaho lawyers can help you with any of your business structure or operation needs. Whether you are seeking to create a new business or review a current business, we are available to discuss your options and answer your questions at an initial free 30-minute consultation. Call us toll free at 877-232-6101 or 208-232-6101 for a free consultation. You can also email us directly at lane@racineolson.com or stop by our office at 201 East Center Street, Pocatello, Idaho 83201. We will answer your questions and help you solve your Idaho business problems.

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