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Florida Textbook Retailer Ordered To Provide Competition With Trade Secrets

Florida textbook retailer, Booksmart, appealed a court ruling denying them documents from Barnes & Noble (B&N) regarding student correspondence needs. The ruling was reversed and the production ordered.

B&N contracts on campus bookstores at Florida Atlantic and Florida International Universities(universities). They supply the universities with forms which are filled out specifying upcoming course textbook needs so that B&N can stock the appropriate textbooks. Booksmart operates off campus stores and has no contract with the universities. They requested the completed forms from B&N for their own stocking purposes. The request was refused because B&N called the forms "trade secrets" and maintained that they are exempt from disclosure because they are not an agency of the universities. Booksmart's action to compel the production was denied.

On appeal, the Third District for the Court of Appeal of Florida reversed the ruling. The court held that B&N was the custodian of public records prepared by and serving a purpose of the universities, and that B&N "cannot deny anyone access to the completed forms. See: Booksmart Enterprises, Inc. v. Barnes & Noble College Bookstores, 718 So.2d 227 (Fla. App. 1998).

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Related legal case

Booksmart Enterprises, Inc. v. Barnes & Noble College Bookstores