Trade secret litigation (often used interchangeably with confidential information) usually centers on an individual misappropriating and/or unfairly using a businesses trade secret to the detriment of a business. A “trade secret” can include “any formula, pattern, device or compilation of information which is used in one’s business, and which gives him an opportunity to obtain an advantage over competitors who do not know or use it.” Brown v. Rollet Bros. Trucking Co., Inc., 291 S.W.3d 766, 776 (Mo. Ct. App. 2009). A claim for misappropriation of trade secrets in Missouri has three components: (1) a business has a valid trade secret, (2) the defendant misappropriates the trade secrets, and the (3) wronged business is entited to damages or injunctive relief .
Many times the disputes in these types of cases involve elements (1)-(2). Specifically, the disputes revolve around whether the claimed trade secret is actually a trade secret under Missouri law, or is something that is known by more than just a few business “insiders.” Moreover, “misappropriation” of a trade secret occurs when the person (a) acquires the information by improper means, (b) acquires or derives the knowledge without the owner’s consent, or (c) when a person uses the trade secret without the owner’s consent.