Business litigation often centers around information that is confidential, or should have been kept confidential, and the inappropriate use of that information. Many businesses are built on their trade secrets, from the efficiency of their processes to the combination of spices and herbs that flavor their recipes. Even in public litigation, that information must stay out of the public knowledge.
Making and Keeping Trade Secrets
A trade secret is a protected piece of business intellectual property. Depending on your business, protectable secrets can range from financial models to customer lists to business plans and other information that is critical to your company’s commercial success. In order for something to be considered a trade secret, you must have determined that it was information worth protecting and taken some steps to protect that information. Depending on what you’re protecting, this could mean confidentiality clauses in your employee and contractor agreements, limited disclosure of information, non-disclosure agreements, and more.
In Camera Review
When confidential information is presented during a lawsuit, the business required to share that information can request an in camera review. This means that the information in question is reviewed in private and that information is not widely disclosed. It may mean that only the judge gets to see the information. In other situations, the information must be shared with the attorney for the opposing party, but they are required to keep the information from their clients.
Depending on the nature of the case and the nature of the information, it could be that only a portion of the case is held in camera. In other instances, the whole case can be held in private to protect the trade secret information. In other cases, the judge inspects the records and chooses which portions of the records are admitted into the case and which are kept confidential.
Closed Case Records
For the most part, case records and filings in civil cases are open to the public, allowing anyone with an interest to pull and review the files. Closing case records and keeping them from the public is more common in family court, but can also be done in criminal and civil matters if necessary to protect people or trade secret information.
In many cases, businesses with confidential information on the line choose mediation or arbitration to resolve their disputes. This not only allows for faster dispute resolution and the use of expert moderators, it also allows both businesses to keep the information and the conflict itself confidential.
The experienced team of litigators at the Dunn Law Firm are here to help you determine the best way to proceed to protect your business during a lawsuit. To learn more, reach out to the Dunn Law Firm by calling (435) 628-5405 and set up a free consultation today.