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LinkedIn Contacts as Trade Secrets?

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LinkedIn Contacts as Trade Secrets?

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Ossian Law P.C.
IT Law Alert October 1, 2014

LinkedIn Contacts as Trade Secrets? About 100 million people use the business social media site LinkedIn. Could an employee’s LinkedIn contacts be considered the employer’s trade secrets? This question is pending in a lawsuit between Cellular Accessories For Less, Inc. and its former employee, David Oakes and his new competitive business, Trinitas LLC.

When Oakes left Cellular Accessories, he maintained the LinkedIn contacts accumulated during his employment. Cellular Accessories filed suit against Oakes and Trinitas, alleging that, among other things, Oakes’ LinkedIn contacts were trade secrets that he misappropriated. Oakes moved to dismiss the claim, stating that LinkedIn contacts are “viewable to any other contact he had on LinkedIn” and, therefore, do not meet the criteria of trade secrets. The court denied the motion and allowed the claim to proceed, holding that there was a question of fact as to whether or not Oakes’ LinkedIn profile was public or private.

Access the Cellular Accessories decision here.

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