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Uber Sues in S.C. to Protect Trade Secrets

(CN) - Uber is suing the authority that operates Charleston International Airport in South Carolina to block the release of information about its operations at the facility.

In a complaint filed in Charleston on March 2, Uber, through its Rasier LLC subsidiary, says a Freedom of Information Act request filed with the Charleston County Aviation Authority in February threatens to lead to the disclosure of "trade secrets" and "information of a personal nature" about the company and its business at the airport.

The FOIA request was made by Rubin Nelson, president of the Airport Taxi Association. Nelson is seeking monthly reports that Uber has filing with the authority since November detailing the number of passenger pickups the ride service has made at the airport, and the fees it has paid to the authority under its operating agreement.

On Feb. 18, 2016, the authority notified Rasier that it intended to release the information "unless Rasier asserted that the Confidential Information was 'exempt and protected from FOIA.'"

Uber/Raiser is seeking declaratory and injunctive relief, arguing that if the information in the monthly reports is disclosed, it "will suffer a substantial and irreperable competitive disadvantage, which would substantially impair its business."

"The Confidential Information has significant economic value, actual and potential, because this information is not generally known, and is not readily ascertainable, to other persons ... who would derive economic value from its disclosure," the complaint says. "Thus, disclosure of the Confidential Information would result in the misappropriation and wrongful use of Rasier's trade secrets."

"It further contains information from which protected 'information of a personal nature,' such as Raiser's gross receipts, revenue, and business activities is ascertainable," it continues.

Uber/Raiser is represented by Mitchell Willoughby of Willoughby & Hoefer, P.A. in Columbia, S.C.

The ride service has been operating at the airport and in many other locations in South Carolina since mid-2014.

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