Law School Case Brief
Elmer Miller, Inc. v. Landis - 253 Ill. App. 3d 129, 192 Ill. Dec. 378, 625 N.E.2d 338 (1993)
Injunctive relief should not go beyond the need to protect the legitimate interests of the plaintiff and should not unduly burden the defendant.
Plaintiff tailor shop filed an action against defendant former salesmen, seeking to preliminarily enjoin them from soliciting its customers, disparaging it, or using any customer lists or information obtained from it. The circuit court granted the injunction. Defendant salesmen filed an appeal, arguing that the tailor shop had no protectable interest in its customer list and that the injunction was overbroad.
Does customer information constitute protectable trade secret under the law?
The court held that the customer information was protectible as a trade secret under Ill. Rev. Stat. ch. 140, para. 352(d)(2) (1991) of the Illinois Trade Secrets Act, Ill. Rev. Stat. ch. 140, para. 351 et seq. (1991). It noted that the tailor shop maintained a list of customers, including many active customers that included information about previous orders, preferred styles and materials, and measurements. It held that given the tailor shop's small size, it had taken reasonable steps to maintain the secrecy of the list. It stated that these facts, and the fact that the tailor shop had alleged that the salesmen had improperly took part of the list when they quit, distinguished the case from those where customer lists had been found not to be secret. Finally, it held that the injunction was not too broad given the allegations of the salesmen's improper conduct.
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