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DeSantis Signs HB 1055, Creating a Public Record Exemption for Trade Secrets Held by State Agencies

DeSantis Signs HB 1055, Creating a Public Record Exemption  for Trade Secrets Held by State Agencies

On June 29, 2021, Governor DeSantis signed HB 1055 into law, creating a public record exemption for trade secrets held by all state agencies.  Prior to the passage of HB 1055, Florida law contained a variety of provisions which discussed how to handle trade secret information held by state agencies, yet the provisions were agency specific.  Additionally, no uniformity existed as to what was a “trade secret.”  Some agency specific provisions followed Florida’s Uniform Trade Secrets Act definition of “trade secret,” while other provisions followed Florida’s criminal statutes definition of “trade secret.”  Additionally, some exemptions provided a specific process that the agency must follow to ensure the information in its possession was protected by the trade secret privilege.

HB 1055 creates a public record exemption for trade secrets held by all agencies.  Additionally, the law provides that “trade secret” has the same meaning as the definition currently codified in Florida’s Uniform Trade Secrets Act, which defines “trade secret” as meaning:

information, including a formula, pattern, compilation, program, device, method, technique, or process that:

  1. 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
  2. Is the subject of efforts that are reasonable under the circumstances to maintain its secrecy.

688.002(4), Fla. Stat. (2020).

HB 1055 also requires a person who submits a record claimed to contain a trade secret to mark the record with the words “trade secret” and to submit simultaneously with the record a notice verifying that the record does in fact contain a trade secret.  Verification occurs by signing the notice under the penalty of perjury.  A party who fails to submit the verified notice at the time the record is submitted to an agency waives any claim by the submitting party that the record contains trade secret information.

If you are submitting trade secret information to a Florida state agency, and you desire additional consultation, please contact the Radey Law Firm.