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Puerto Rico Trade Secrets Act
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Puerto Rico Trade Secrets Act

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New Puerto Rico Trade Secrets Act

New Puerto Rico Trade Secrets Act

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  • 1. Intellectual Property - Puerto RicoThe Trade Secrets Act: protection offered for non-patentable essential information AuthorsContributed by Ferraiuoli Torres Marchand & Rovira Eugenio J Torres-OyolaDecember 06 2010For the first time, the Puerto Rico Senate is considering the approval of a statute thatwould protect valuable trade secrets belonging to businesses and individuals alike.This represents a significant advancement for the protection of intellectual property inPuerto Rico. It is a well-known fact that trade secrets, as they are commonly referred to,protect highly valuable information for businesses.According to the preamble to the Trade Secrets Act, trade secrets protect all confidential Laura Belendezinformation that is generally non-patentable, but is necessary to carry out businessobjectives. The information that may be protected by the act includes any formula, Maristella Collazo-Sotocompilation, method, technique, process, recipe, design, treatment, model or patternused by the business or individual. However, in order for the information to be protected  by the act, the business or individual must demonstrate that it complies with twoessential requirements:l The information possesses an economic value or advantage that is not accessible to third parties.l The information has been protected by reasonable security measures.Under the act, reasonable security measures are those measures that the businessor individual carries out in order to ensure limited access to the information, includingthe following efforts:l non-disclosure of the information;l limitation of the number of employees authorised to access the information;l a requirement that those employees authorised to access the information sign confidentiality agreements;l storage of the information in a separate location from other information;l labelling of the information as confidential;l measures to prevent indiscriminate reproduction of the information;l establishment of control measures for the use and access of the information by employees; andl implementation of available technology to avoid dissemination of the information through the Internet or electronic correspondence.Persons that misappropriate or disclose a trade secret without authorisation will beresponsible for all damages caused to the owner of the trade secret. For the purposesof the act, a person engages in misappropriation if he or she acquires a trade secretfrom another person and knew or should have known that it was acquired throughinappropriate means. Consequently, a trade secret is acquired through inappropriatemeans when, without implicit or explicit authorisation, an individual or corporation gainsknowledge of the trade secret.The act establishes a special procedure through which the owner of the trade secretcan, by means of a detailed, sworn complaint, request an immediate ex parte ceaseand desist order, under penalty of contempt, to prevent the use or disclosure of thetrade secret. On the other hand, the act establishes that once misappropriation of atrade secret has been confirmed, the plaintiff need not prove the occurrence of anirreparable harm in order for the court to issue a cease and desist order. The act alsoestablishes that the plaintiff will have a right to material damages caused bymisappropriation of the trade secret. If the appropriation was intentional or in bad faith,the damages may be tripled and the plaintiff will also be awarded attorneys fees.For further information on this topic please contact Eugenio J Torres-Oyola,Laura Belendez or Maristella Collazo at Ferraiuoli Torres Marchand & Rovira by
  • 2. telephone (+78 7766 7000), fax (+78 7766 7001) or email (etorres@ftmrlaw.com,lbelendez@ftmrlaw.com, or mcollazo@ftmrlaw.com).The materials contained on this website are for general information purposes only andare subject to the disclaimer.ILO is a premium online legal update service for major companies and law firms worldwide. In-house corporate counsel and other users of legal services, as well as law firm partners, qualifyfor a free subscription. Register at www.iloinfo.com.Online Media Partners © Copyright 1997-2010 Globe Business Publishing Ltd

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