No matter the industry, businesses often must work hard to gain an advantage over the competition. This may include finding innovative ways to streamline work or developing training methods that fast-track new employees. A business that creates these methods will likely want to protect them as trade secrets to make itself more valuable to customers and clients.
Florida courts are currently dealing with a case involving the theft of trade secrets from a company working in the cruise ship entertainment business. The company provided aerial acrobatics shows for Celebrity Cruises and had developed systems for tracking and managing their equipment digitally. Additionally, the company had a unique system for quickly training performers who have no acrobatic skills.
Convincing the court
After the termination of its contract with Celebrity Cruises, the company alleges that Celebrity began advertising for new performers, promising rapid training for non-acrobats and using language similar to the advertising the acrobatics company used. Celebrity apparently even used marketing photos from shows the company performed. The courts originally ruled that Celebrity did not appropriate secret property. However, a Florida court of appeals recently overturned that and determined that the company had met the criteria for proving the misappropriation of secret information.
The theft and use of trade secrets can be devastating to a business. It can cost the business money and weaken the public’s confidence in the product or service the company provides. While it is not always easy to prove the appropriation of business secrets, protecting one’s rights can be critical to the continued success of a business.