UnIntellectual Property (UnIP): Trade Secret for Information Posted on the Internet and Generally Known

The United States District Court for the District of Maryland analyzed several alleged trade secrets as part of a lawsuit involving six former employees and their activities before and after resigning.  Plaintiff, whose business is locating, selecting, screening, mobilizing, and placing candidates in temporary and permanent employment positions throughout the United States at all levels of skill and expertisehad sued defendants, for, among other things, trade secret misappropriation in violation of the Maryland Uniform Trade Secrets Act (MUTSA).

Plaintiffs allege Defendants misappropriated the following documents:

(1) a TEKsystems CATS 2 Price Sheet and a Federal Supply Service Price List – Although the Court notes that pricing information is protectable as a trade secret, the Court made quick work of this particular price sheet, agreeing with Defendants that it was a not a trade secret because it was published on the Internet.

(2) a Software Market Definitions Memorandum – Again, the Court recognized that marketing plans are protectable as a trade secret.  However, the Court found that Plaintiff’s failure to offer evidence that the list is not generally known or would be valuable to competitors, let alone rebut Defendant’s evidence, favored a finding that the Memo did not qualify as a trade secret.

(3) an Allegis Group Internal Employee Handbook and a TEKsystems Staffing Services Agreement – The Court held: “Plaintiffs offer no evidence that the information in the agreement and the handbook is not generally known or would be valuable to competitors. Thus, there is no evidence from which a reasonable jury could conclude these documents are trade secrets.”

Thus, the Court granted Defendant’s motion for summary judgment with respect to the MUTSA claim.

Again, I wonder whether the trade secret misappropriation claim, which is typically included when there is a breach of a covenant in an employment agreement, was included as mere habit.  Will a motion for fees be forthcoming?

Allegis Grp., Inc. v. Jordan, CIV.A. GLR-12-2535, 2014 WL 2612604 (D. Md. June 10, 2014).



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