Identifying Trade Secrets Prior to Discovery in Litigation – San Diego Trade Secret Lawyer
Plaintiffs and Defendants typically have conflicting interests when it comes to identifying allegedly misappropriated trade secrets in litigation. Whereas Plaintiffs often prefer to avoid identification of the trade secrets at issue in a case, Defendants hope to gain that very information with reasonable particularity in order to strengthen their defense.
California expressly addresses a Defendant’s concern in this regard. Realizing that a Defendant in trade secret litigation needs to frame its case and fully develop its defenses, the legislature enacted California Code of Civil Procedure §2019.210, which states, in relevant part, as follows:
In any action alleging the misappropriation of a trade secret…, before commencing discovery relating to the trade secret, the party alleging the misappropriation shall identify the trade secret with reasonable particularity subject to any orders that may be appropriate under Section 3426.5 of the Civil Code.
Thus, before a Plaintiff may commence discovery in a trade secret action, it must identify the trade secret alleged to be misappropriated with “reasonable particularity.” Otherwise, a Court may issue a protective order suspending discovery until a Plaintiff has properly complied with California Code of Civil Procedure §2019.210.