Business litigation in New Mexico can take many different forms and can arise out of a wide variety of actions or omissions that have the potential to harm a business. Many business tort claims and breach of contract claims are filed in situations involving a misappropriation of trade secrets. If you believe another party has misappropriated trade secrets of your business, it is important to speak with one of our experienced Santa Fe business litigation lawyers about filing a misappropriation claim. In the meantime, the following are five things you should know about a misappropriation of trade secrets claim in New Mexico.
1. Information That Was Taken or Used Must be a Legitimate Trade Secret
While it can be angering to learn that a competitor or former employee has improperly taken information from your business and used it for their own benefit, you will need to be able to prove that the information constitutes a “trade secret” in order for it to be protected and in order for you to bring a trade secret misappropriation claim under the New Mexico Uniform Trade Secrets Act.
New Mexico law defines a trade secret as “information, including a formula, pattern, compilation, program, device, method, technique or process that . . . derives independent economic value, actual or potential, from not being generally known to and not being readily ascertainable by proper means by other persons who can obtain economic value from its disclosure or use; and is the subject of efforts that are reasonable under the circumstances to maintain its secrecy.”
2. Three Factual Elements to Prove the Information is a Trade Secret
Based on the statutory language cited above, there are generally three facts you must prove to show that the information taken or used is a protected trade secret:
- Has value to your business;
- Is not generally known or readily ascertainable by people outside your business; and
- Was the subject of efforts to keep it secret (i.e., your business took steps to keep the information secret).
3. Misappropriation Must Have Occurred
To win a misappropriation claim, you must prove that the trade secret was actually misappropriated. Misappropriation means either that the trade secret was acquired by another person by improper means, or that the trade secret was disclosed by another person without your business’s consent who used improper means to acquire it or had knowledge that it had been acquired through improper means.
4. You May be Eligible for Damages
Your business may be eligible to obtain monetary damages to compensate for actual losses resulting from the misappropriation. In situations where misappropriation was willful and malicious, you also may be eligible for exemplary damage.
5. You May be Eligible for Injunctive Relief
Beyond monetary damages, you also may be able to have the court issue an injunction to prevent the defendant from continuing to benefit from the misappropriation of your trade secrets.
Contact a Santa Fe Trade Secret Appropriation Lawyer
If you have questions about filing a misappropriation claim, an experienced Santa Fe business litigation attorney at our firm can evaluate your case for you today and discuss your options for seeking a remedy. Contact Slate Stern Law to learn more about how we can help.