Wednesday, January 04, 2006, 1/04/2006 06:38:00 PM

Illinois Court: Trade Secrets Must Receive Heightened Protection (Pacer Req’d)

In Exhibit Works, Inc. v. Inspired Exhibits, Inc., federal Judge Holderman of the Northern District of Illinois ruled on December 21, 2005 that information downloaded by a departing employee who later set up a competing business did not qualify as trade secrets under the Illinois Trade Secrets Act.

The information at issue, which included customer information, invoicing policies, labor rates, design charges and other things, was password protected on plaintiff's computers but received no greater protection than any other information – including some information publicly-available – on those computers. For that reason, the court held, plaintiff failed to present evidence that it took reasonable steps to protect the information, and, the court said, the failure to provide any heightened protection discredited the claim that the information was trade secret information at all.

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