The Missouri Court of Appeals yesterday issued a ruling which found that in most cases, customer contacts do not qualify as trade secrets. The case, Central Trust v. Kennedy, highlights the problem when employers assume that that the Missouri Uniform Trade Secrets Act will provide them some protection. The Court actually said that if you want to protect customer relationships, get a non-compete.
This case exemplifies a situation in which an employer assumes that because customer contacts can be protected in non-compete agreements, they are automatically protected by trade secret statutes. This may be true for trade secrets, but not so for customer contacts. Be sure to check with your non-compete and trade secret counsel at Spencer Fane to make sure you have the right protection for your assets.