McKee v. James (Unreported)

Summarized by:

  • Court: Intellectual Property Archives
  • Area(s) of Law: Trade Secrets, Misappropriation
  • Date Filed: 07-24-2013
  • Case #: 09 CVS 3031
  • Judge(s)/Court Below: North Carolina Superior Court, Robeson County
  • LexisNexis Citation: 2013 NCBC LEXIS 33
  • Westlaw Citation: 2013 WL 3893430
  • Full Text Opinion

Password protection on a computer alone does not constitute reasonable efforts toward maintaining the secrecy of a trade secret.

Opinion (Murphy): Lanness McKee ("McKee") owned a boat manufacturing company of which Jason James ("James") became the president and majority share holder. James sold assets containing the method of construction of the boats. McKee alleged misappropriation of trade secrets. The court found that in their claim McKee failed to state that the process of manufacturing the boat was in fact a trade secret, because McKee did not allege reasonable efforts that they took toward maintaining the secrecy of a trade secret. The information that "James" sold was on a password protected computer but the court found that a password was not a strong enough allegation to prove that they took reasonable steps to protect their trade secret. Because of this the court DISMISSED with prejudice their McKee's claim of misappropriation of trade secrets.

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