OIR Counsel Outlines Trade Secret Filing Requirements
The Office of Insurance Regulation provided an overview of the trade secret filing requirements at its 2014 “Navigating the Changing Insurance Environment” industry conference. Virginia Christy of the OIR described the statutes that relate to trade secret filings and the process that ensues when a public records request encompasses documents marked as trade secrets.
Florida law describes trade secrets at section 688.002(4), Florida Statutes, and 812.081, Florida Statutes. These statutes provide guidance regarding the types of information that can constitute trade secrets. Section 624.4213 then sets forth a process by which an insurer or other person filing information with the Office of Insurance Regulation can identify documents as trade secrets. Trade secrets labeled and designated under this statute are contrasted with information that is exempt from public records disclosure pursuant to Chapter 119, Florida Statutes.
The Office of Insurance Regulation does not make a determination whether documents marked as trade secrets are in fact trade secrets. Instead, the process of making this determination usually arises when a party makes a public records request to the Office of Insurance Regulation that encompasses information labeled as trade secrets. The OIR then considers whether the party that filed the information followed section 624.4213 and correctly preserved its trade secret claim. If so, the OIR notifies that party that a request has been made and the party has 30 days in which to file a legal action protecting the trade secrets or otherwise the claim will be waived. If the filing party seeks to protect the trade secrets, it must file an action in circuit court seeking to enjoin their release.
The Office of Insurance Regulation advises that it currently has 23 trade secret cases pending, accounting for about 30% of the pending cases handled by its litigation department.