Michigan Court Finds Sales Data Not a Trade Secret

traverselegal - October 4, 2013 - Trade Secret Law

Matt: Hi, it’s Matt Plessner, and welcome back to Trade Secret Law Radio. Today we’re going to be speaking with Mark Clark, once again, from the Traverse Legal office. We’re going to hear some updates on what is happening with Trade Secret Law. Mark, thanks for joining us again!
Mark: Matt, it’s always my pleasure.
Matt: Now Mark, what’s going on with Trade Secret Law?
Mark: Well Matt, recently, the Michigan Court of Appeals had an opportunity to review a case in which a sports apparel manufacturer had claimed that its exclusive distributor had used its sales data inappropriately in as much as it was sales data. The Michigan Court of Appeals held that under the Michigan Uniform Trade Secrets Act [MUTSA], the Michigan High School Athletic Association had, or granted, the Michigan High School Athletic Association summary judgment, indicating that the plaintiff, Lighthouse Sportswear, inc, did not have a claim for a trade secret violation. In this case, the parties had a contractual relationship where Lighthouse was required to report sales data to the Michigan High School Athletic Association. The contractual provision, which required them to provide the sales data, made the information, which Lighthouse considered a trade secret, not a trade secret. So in the end, this is another case where it appears as though the trade secret holder did not review its contracts properly. It could have incorporated a provision properly under a non-disclosure agreement or other confidential agreement, which would have protected the information and it would have remained a trade secret. The moral of this story, again, is that trade secret holders must review all of their contracts carefully in order to make sure that their trade secrets are properly protected under a non-disclosure or NDA agreement, or other confidentiality agreement. So that in the event that there is an improper disclosure that the fine print in a contract somewhere up the line has not inadvertently caused your trade secrets to becoming something other than trade secrets and available for the rest of the world to view. Matt, that is what is current in Trade Secret Law at the moment, and the theme of the case, just for reference purposes, is Lighthouse Sportswear, inc vs. Michigan High School Athletic Association.
Matt: Well Mark, thank you very much for being with us as always and giving us these updates. Once again, my name is Matt Plessner, and join us next time on Trade Secret Law Radio.

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