Marketing Concept “Term” Not A Trade Secret

On September 4, 2013, in Trade Secrets, by Brian A. Hall

UnIntellectual Property (UnIP): Trade Secret for Marketing Concept

The United States District Court for the Northern District of Illinois granted defendant’s motion for summary judgment stemming from plaintiff’s claims for trade secret misappropriation in violation of the Illinois Trade Secrets Act (ITSA).  Plaintiff claimed that defendants “contracted with her to use her “Marketing Concept” related to pet-safe plants and thereafter used the Concept, but failed to pay her any fee.”  In particular, Plaintiff claimed that her Marketing Concept was used, but the Court recognized that the only evidence she had was defendant’s use of the term “pet-friendly” on its website.  The Court held that plaintiff made no effort to maintain the confidentiality of the term, which she allowed defendant to publish on its website and used as a searchable attribute.  Moreover, the Court held that the listing of pet-friendly plants was based on public information, not any trade secret because it could be readily duplicated from public sources.

I do not recall ever seeing someone claim a term as a trade secret, under the guise of a marketing concept.  I am not surprised by this decision, which seems sound given the facts and law.

Spitz v. Proven Winners N. Am., LLC, 11 C 3997, 2013 WL 4501444 (N.D. Ill. Aug. 22, 2013).




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