Theft of Trade Secrets
There are two significant laws that govern private lawsuits for theft or misappropriation of trade secrets: Colorado’s Uniform Trade Secrets Act and the federal Economic Espionage Act(recently amended by the Defend Trade Secrets Act).
Colorado’s lawallows a plaintiff to pursue a claim for theft or misappropriation of trade secrets which include:
[S]cientific or technical information, design, process, procedure, formula, improvement, confidential business or financial information, listing of names, addresses, or telephone numbers, or other information relating to any business or profession which is secret and of value.
The Colorado law allows for injunctive relief, money damages and, in some cases, punitive damages and attorney’s fees.
A more powerful weapon is the federal Economic Espionage Act and the Defend Trade Secrets Act. Recently amended in 2016, it allows a court to issue an order, without a hearing, seizing the confidential or trade secret materials. In addition, it allows for money damages, punitive damages of twice the actual damages and attorney’s fees in some instances. The federal law defines a trade secret substantially the same as Colorado’s law.
A claim for theft of trade secrets not only covers the situation where someone like a former employee steals company information for use at their new employer - it also covers the situation when the new employer misappropriates those trade secrets for their own use.