Trade Secret Disputes Involving Customer Lists

What You Need to Know About California Trade Secret Law

Claims of trade secret misappropriation involving misuse of a customer list are frequently litigated. Often a plaintiff claims its customer list is a trade secret because the company has spent a lot of time, effort, and money in compiling a list of customers who have a proclivity to purchase the company’s unique product(s). The defendant, on the other hand, will argue that the customer list is not a trade secret because the same information can easily be obtained from the internet and/or other publicly available sources such as the Yellow Pages. To make matters worse, there is no bright line rule as to what constitutes a trade secret. That is why experienced attorneys at Fisher & Talwar have extensive experience in litigating trade secret claims involving solicitation of customer and misappropriation of customer list.

Are Customer Lists a Trade Secret?

California courts look at customer list – trade secret claims on a case by case basis. To assist courts in making this determination, the California Legislature has enacted the Uniform Trade Secret Act that is codified in Civil Code § 3426.1(d) (“UTSA”). It states, in pertinent parts:

“Trade Secret means information, including a formula, pattern, compilation, program, device, method, technique, or process that:

(1) Derives independent economic value, actual or potential, from not being generally known to the public or to other persons who could obtain economic value from its disclosure or use; and

(2) Is the subject of efforts that are reasonable under the circumstances to maintain its secrecy.”

Handling Misappropriation of Trade Secret Disputes in Southern California

Additionally, whether or not a customer list is a trade secret requires an objective analysis because a party’s belief that something is a trade secret is not dispositive. Nor is agreement labeling information as a trade secret because a contract cannot make a trade secret where none exists under the law.

Contact Our Los Angeles, California Trade Secret Litigation Attorney

If you are involved in a dispute concerning misappropriation of trade secrets such as a customer list, it is vital to have the experienced business litigation attorneys of Fisher & Talwar on your side. Available remedies for trade secret misappropriation include: injunction, exemplary damages, attorney fees and costs, compensatory damages and payment of royalties. Our experienced business litigation lawyers are skilled in litigating misappropriation of trade secret claims. Contact our law firm online or call (213) 891-0777 to schedule a free initial consultation with an experienced California trade secret litigation lawyer.