Florida’s Fourth District Gives Protection to an Obvious Secret

Florida's Fourth District Gives Protection to an Obvious Secret

In Mapei Corp. and Southeastern Printing Co. v. J.M. Field Marketing Inc. , Florida’s Fourth District Court of Appeal addressed trade secret issues in a dispute among a construction product company (Mapei), its former fulfillment and marketing firm (JM), and Mapei’s new construction marketing firm (Southeastern). The case raises interesting issues of when information that is obvious and known can still find trade secret protection because how the information interacts with other information is a secret. It is also a cautionary tale of why it is critical to closely review the details of confidentiality agreements to clearly identify what categories of information qualify for protection, and, in the event of a business divorce, who has rights to do what with categories of information housed within an electronic system. For many years, JM provided web-based management and marketing services to Mapei through a proprietary platform called AIV. JM developed specialized aspects of the platform tailored to Mapei’s specific needs. The parties’ agreements included commitments that Mapei would use the same level of confidentiality for JM’s AIV system as it uses for its own confidential business information. In those same agreements, Mapei agreed to prohibit access to the AIV system, except under a non-disclosure agreement, approved by JM, for those individuals and third parties with a need to know the information. After Mapei terminated its relationship with JM, JM discovered that Mapei employees had scraped data from the AIV system. It also discovered evidence suggesting that login and access credentials to the AIV system had been shared with Mapei’s new vendor, Southeastern, which is JM’s competitor. JM learned that Southeastern was offering a system to Mapei that mimicked the functions of the AIV system and providing similar AIV services at a lower price. JM sued for violations of the Florida Uniform […]

Original Post www.jdsupra.com

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