Thursday, February 07, 2008, 2/07/2008 11:29:00 AM

Trade Secrets All in the Head

Can you state a claim for a trade secrets case based solely on the fact that the person walked out with the trade secrets in his or her head? In Ohio at least, the answer is "yes."

From the Associated Press, via Dayton, Ohio television station, WDTN:

The Ohio Supreme Court ruled yesterday that memorizing a company's trade secrets is just as wrong as writing them down or copying them in some other format.

The court unanimously ordered a former employee of Al Minor & Associates to pay damages for memorizing a client list. The company sued Robert Martin, a pension analyst, when he left to start his own company in 2003. Martin was accused of taking 15 clients with him whose names he recalled from memory.

Justice Terrence O'Donnell said in the ruling that employees who leave their jobs inevitably have casual memories of contacts and things that occurred during their employment.
But he said that information is not protected.

For the more scholarly-minded, we are providing a link to the Ohio Supreme Court's opinion here.

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