SW Legal studies in Business

List of Tour Operators Who Frequented Resort Not a Trade Secret
Description Vermont high court upheld the decision that there was no misappropriation of trade secrets when the managers of a resort left to start a resort in competition and contacted many of the same tour operators that used the other resort. The information was valuable, but was not protected as a secret.
Topic Torts
Key Words Trade Secrets; Misappropriation
C A S E   S U M M A R Y
Facts The Jensens worked for six years as the managers of the Lodge at Mount Snow in Vermont when they quit to open their own lodge in competition. Many of the customers in the non-winter months are senior citizens on bus tours who come on a regular basis. The Jensens contacted the bus tour operators and got many to switch their business to their new lodge. The owners of Mount Snow then sued the Jensens for trade secret misappropriation for using their knowledge of operations to get the tour operators to switch. The trial court dismissed the suit; the owners of Mount Snow appealed.
Decision Affirmed. In determining whether information deserves protection as a trade secret, courts consider whether the information has independent economic value that is not readily ascertainable to others, and whether reasonable efforts were made to maintain the information's secrecy. The customer list for the lodge came from public sources; it was not a trade secret even though it was valuable. The names of tour groups were posted on large reservation boards in the office where all employees and any visitor to the office could see the list.
Citation Dicks v. Jensen, 768 A.2d 1279 (Sup. Ct., Vt., 2001)

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