What Are the The Illinois Trade Secrets Act Two Requirements for Considering a Customer List a Trade Secret ?
In Stampede Tool Warehouse, Inc. v. May, 272 Ill. App. 3d 580, 588, 651 N.E.2d 209, 209 Ill. Dec. 281 (1995), the plaintiff sold tools to automotive jobbers and developed its customer list by calling service stations and tool dealers to acquire customer names.
The court referred to this process as "prospecting." Stampede Tool, 272 Ill. App. 3d at 582.
Although the service stations and other end users were listed in telephone directories, no one source was available to find jobbers.
Once a new customer was found, the information was entered into the plaintiff's computer.
Only two key employees had access to the computer.
Customer information was given to other employees on a need-to-know basis.
All hard copies of the customer list were locked in an office, and salespeople were not allowed to remove customer cards from that office.
The plaintiffs also used security cameras, required employees to sign confidentiality agreements, and constantly reminded employees about the list's confidentiality. Stampede Tool, 272 Ill. App. 3d at 587.
Based on the "laborious method" of creating the customer list and the security efforts used to protect the information, the court decided the customer list met the ITSA's (The Illinois Trade Secrets Act) two requirements and was a trade secret. Stampede Tool, 272 Ill. App. 3d at 589.