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Six factors to be considered in the determination of whether given information constitutes a trade secret are the extent to which the information is known outside of his business; the extent to which it is known by employees and others involved in his business; the extent of measures taken by him to guard the secrecy of the information; the value of the information to him and to his competitors; the amount of effort or money expended by him in developing the information; and the ease or difficulty with which the information could be properly acquired or duplicated by others. Courts in states that have adopted the Uniform Trade Secrets Act have found that these factors provide guidance in determining whether the information in a given case constitutes trade secrets within the definition of the Act.
Plaintiff manufactured shoe insoles. Defendant individuals were former officers of plaintiff corporation. After death of plaintiff's sole stockholder, plaintiff was operated by trustee of his estate. Defendant individuals attempted to buy plaintiff, but after efforts proved unsuccessful, defendant individuals resigned and formed defendant corporation. They then began to compete directly with plaintiff. Plaintiff sued defendants, alleging they misappropriated trade secrets in violation of the Uniform Trade Secrets Act and tortious interference with a business expectancy. The trial court granted a directed verdict for defendant, finding that the price book was not a trade secret. Plaintiff appealed.
Did the trial court err in finding that the price book was not a trade secret?
The court of appeals reversed the decision of the trial court, holding that the plaintiff established facts sufficient to support a finding that price book was a trade secret, and that individual defendants misappropriated trade secrets by taking the price book and using it for the benefit of defendant corporation.