TNS Media Research v. TRA Global, Inc.

Summarized by:

  • Court: Intellectual Property Archives
  • Area(s) of Law: Trade Secrets, Protectable Trade Secrets
  • Date Filed: 10-03-2013
  • Case #: No: 11 Civ. 4039 (SAS)
  • Judge(s)/Court Below: United States District Court for the Southern District of New York
  • LexisNexis Citation: 2013 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 143542
  • Westlaw Citation: 2013 WL 5502815
  • Full Text Opinion

A client list may be a trade secret but one created through widespread canvassing of an obvious and highly competitive market is insufficient to warrant trade secret protection.

Opinion (Scheindlin): A dispute arose between market research company TNS and competing company TRA Global involving alleged infringement on various patents and trade secrets related to marketing and advertising analytics. TRA alleged that an affiliate of TNS engaged in merger negotiations solely for the purpose of acquiring its trade secrets. TNS’s affiliates alleged that TRA disputed trade secrets are insufficiently detailed to merit trade secret protection. The identified trade secrets include strategic plans, customer interactions, performance of patented media, product positioning, and financial information. TRA officials also alleged that TNS was supplied documents identifying these trade secrets during merger negotiations. To establish a claim for misappropriation of trade secrets under New York Law, the injured party must show (1) that it possessed a valid trade secret, and (2) that the defendant used the disputed trade secret in violation of an agreement, confident relationship, or duty. New York courts look to a list of 6 factors when discussing trademark claims that include outside knowledge of information, employee knowledge of information, measures taken by business to secure secrets, value of information to the business, amount expended in developing secret information, and the ease with which the secret information could be duplicated by others. The court further stated that a client list may be a trade secret but one created through widespread canvassing of an obvious and highly competitive market is insufficient to warrant trade secret protection. The court determined that TRA had failed to evidence protectable trade secrets based on the analysis of client lists aforementioned. Therefore the Court DISMISSED TRA’s claim of trade secret infringement.

Advanced Search