Wednesday, January 25, 2006, 1/25/2006 05:41:00 PM

Trade Secrets and Tennis Shoes? (Pacer Req'd)

A new case from the federal court in the Southern District of Indiana, The Finish Line, Inc. v. Foot Locker, Inc., 2006 WL 146633 (Jan. 18, 2006), concerned trade secrets claims in the context of a dispute between two athletic shoe retailers and their on-going battle for talented managerial personnel. In the dispute, Finish Line claimed that Foot Locker misappropriated a district manager contact list and a "Rolling Operating Forecast." In both cases, the court ruled, Finish Line's claim was deficient.

With respect to the manager list, the court held it was not a trade secret because it contained "nothing more than the district managers' names, addresses and telephone numbers." That information, in addition to be "readily ascertainable through proper means," was not the subject of reasonable means to ensure its secrecy. Among other things, it was not marked confidential and an outside vendor was on the distribution list.

The claim regarding the Rolling Operating Forecast fared no better. The court ruled that it was insufficiently detailed to have independent economic value and, like the manager, was not appropriately protected.

Let the free market in $180 sneakers reign.

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