Is a Customer List Trade Secret If Reasonable Measures to Protect It Are Not Taken ?
In Gillis Associated Industries Inc. v. Cari-All, Inc., 206 Ill. App. 3d 184, 188, 564 N.E.2d 881, 151 Ill. Dec. 426 (1990), the plaintiff met only the first of the two statutory requirements.
In that case, the plaintiff derived economic value from its list of 3,000 customers who needed its shelving products. Gillis, 206 Ill. App. 3d at 190-91.
Nonetheless, the customer list was not a trade secret because the plaintiff did not take reasonable measures to protect it.
Although only three key employees had access to the list on the plaintiff's computer, there was no evidence physical copies of the list were subject to any restrictions.
The copies were not locked in the office; they were not marked confidential; and employees were not instructed on the list's confidentiality. Gillis, 206 Ill. App. 3d at 191-92.
As a result, the court found the plaintiffs did not present sufficient evidence of a trade secret to warrant a preliminary injunction. Gillis, 206 Ill. App. 3d at 192; see Jackson, 274 Ill. App. 3d at 67-69 (no trade secret because the plaintiff did not meet either of the statutory requirements--its customers were not secret, and there was no evidence any security measures were used to protect the customer list).