Can Uber use the South Carolina Trade Secrets Act to keep certain information confidential?
Information relating to business operations is often referred to as trade secrets. This information gives a company an advantage in the market is valuable and therefore, companies -must ensure that it remains confidential. Every state has laws regarding trade secrets and protecting this this information can often become the basis of contested lawsuit. That seems to be the case developing in South Carolina between Uber and the Airport Limo Taxi Association.
Up and coming transportation company Uber has been operating at the Charleston International Airport under subsidiary name Raiser LLC since 2014. Recently, the Airport Limo Taxi Association has requested that Uber release certain business statistics. The request was made to the Charleston County Aviation Authority under South Carolina’s Freedom of Information law.
Uber does not want to turn over this information and claims that the statistics are confidential and protected by the South Carolina Trade Secrets Act. Uber also argues that that this information would be valuable to competitors operating at the airport and even to those that have not begun operating in South Carolina.. Releasing this information to the Association would be the only way competitors could obtain this information. Uber also said that it already provides monthly reports to the airport. Therefore, the company has filed a lawsuit in the Charleston County Court of Common Please seeking a temporary restraining order.
What does the South Carolina Trade Secrets Act protect?
South Carolina is one of many states that adopted the Uniform Trade Secrets Act. Specifically, the state legislation protects sensitive business information that is usually valuable, confidential and protected by the company. Some examples of information that is considered trade secrets are formulas, procedures and techniques used by the company alone.
The overarching issue in this case is whether information requested by the Airport Limo Taxi Association is to be considered a trade secret. If the court decides that it is, it will not be released.
If you have a trade secret issue, or any other business matter, you should take the time to discuss it with a skilled South Carolina business attorney today.