Maine Uniform Trade Secrets Act

Last Modified: 

Current through Chapter 142 of the 2011 First Regular Session of the 125th Legislature


10 M.R.S. §§ 1541-1548 (2011)

§ 1541. Short title

This Act shall be known and may be cited as the "Uniform Trade Secrets Act."

1542. Definitions

As used in this Act, unless the context otherwise indicates, the following terms have the following meanings.

1. IMPROPER MEANS. "Improper means" means theft, bribery, misrepresentation, breach or inducement of a breach of duty to maintain secrecy or espionage through electronic or other means.

2. MISAPPROPRIATION. "Misappropriation" means:

A. Acquisition of a trade secret of another by a person who knows or
has reason to know that the trade secret was acquired by improper
means; or

B. Disclosure or use of a trade secret of another without express or
implied consent by a person who:

1) Used improper means to acquire knowledge of the trade secret;

2) At the time of disclosure or use, knew or had reason to know
that his knowledge of the trade secret was:

i) Derived from or through a person who had utilized improper
means to acquire it;

ii) Acquired under circumstances giving rise to a duty to
maintain its secrecy or limit its use; or

iii) Derived from or through a person who owed a duty to the
person seeking relief to maintain its secrecy or limit its
use; or

3) Before a material change of his position, knew or had reason
to know that it was a trade secret and that knowledge of it had
been acquired by accident or mistake.

3. PERSON. "Person" means a natural person, corporation, business trust, estate, trust, partnership, association, joint venture, government, governmental subdivision or agency or any other legal or commercial entity.

4. TRADE SECRET. "Trade secret" means information, including, but not limited to, a formula, pattern, compilation, program, device, method, technique or process, that:

A. 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

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

§ 1543. Injunctive relief

1. MISAPPROPRIATION RESTRAINED OR ENJOINED. Actual or threatened misappropriation may be restrained or enjoined. Upon application to the court, an injunction shall be terminated when the trade secret has ceased to exist, but the injunction may be continued for an additional reasonable period of time in order to eliminate commercial advantage that otherwise would be derived from the misappropriation.

2. EXCEPTIONAL CIRCUMSTANCES. In exceptional circumstances, an injunction may condition future use upon payment of a reasonable royalty for no longer than the period of time for which use could have been prohibited.

A. Exceptional circumstances include, but are not limited to, a
material and prejudicial change of position prior to acquiring
knowledge or reason to know of misappropriation that renders a
prohibitive injunction inequitable.

3. PROTECTION OF TRADE SECRET COMPELLED. In appropriate circumstances, affirmative acts to protect a trade secret may be compelled by court order.

4. APPLICATION. This section applies to all forms of injunctive relief, including temporary restraining orders, preliminary injunctions and permanent injunctions.

§ 1544. Damages

Except to the extent that a material and prejudicial change of position prior to acquiring knowledge or reason to know of misappropriation renders a monetary recovery inequitable, a complainant is entitled to recover damages for misappropriation.

1. MEASUREMENT OF DAMAGES. Damages may include both the actual loss caused by misappropriation and the unjust enrichment caused by misappropriation that is not taken into account in computing actual loss. In lieu of damages measured by any other methods, the damages caused by misappropriation may be measured by imposition of liability for a reasonable royalty for a misappropriator's unauthorized disclosure or use of a trade secret.

2. WILLFUL, MALICIOUS MISAPPROPRIATION. If willful and malicious misappropriation exists, the court may award exemplary damages in an amount not to exceed twice any award made under subsection 1.

§ 1545. Attorneys fees

If a claim of misappropriation is made in bad faith, a motion to terminate an injunction is made or resisted in bad faith or willful and malicious misappropriation exists, the court may award reasonable attorneys fees to the prevailing party.

§ 1546. Preservation of secrecy

In an action under this Act, a court shall preserve the secrecy of an alleged trade secret by reasonable means, which may include granting protective orders in connection with discovery proceedings, holding in camera hearings, sealing the records of the action and ordering any person involved in the litigation not to disclose an alleged trade secret without prior court approval.

§ 1547. Statute of limitations

An action for misappropriation must be brought within 4 years after the misappropriation is discovered or, by the exercise of reasonable diligence, should have been discovered. For the purposes of this section, a continuing misappropriation constitutes a single claim.

§ 1548. Effect on other laws

1. NO EFFECT. Except as provided in this section, this Act displaces conflicting tort, restitutionary and other laws of this State providing civil remedies for misappropriation of a trade secret. This Act does not affect:

A. Contractual remedies, whether or not based upon misappropriation
of a trade secret;

B. Other civil remedies that are not based upon misappropriation of a
trade secret;

C. Criminal remedies, whether or not based upon misappropriation of a
trade secret;

D. The duty of any person to disclose information where expressly
required by law; or

E. The provisions of the Maine Tort Claims Act, Title 14, chapter