The Volokh Conspiracy

Mostly law professors | Sometimes contrarian | Often libertarian | Always independent

One Trade Secret to Rule Them All


From Physiotherapy Assocs., Inc. v. ATI Holdings, LLC, decided Friday by Judge Karon Owen Bowdre (M.D. Ala.):

"Keep it secret; keep it safe." The wizard Gandalf's brief command leaves little doubt as to the importance of the ring that he entrusts to the hobbit Frodo. Only determination and serious effort will keep an item of value secret. And over Frodo's hazardous journey, readers observe the bravery that he musters, the challenges he endures, and the feats that he achieves to keep the ring secret and keep it safe.

This lawsuit involves secrets of a corporate nature—client lists, financial data, and business expansion plans. But Alabama trade secrets law, like Gandalf's command, requires the holder of such information to keep it secret. Because Plaintiff Physiotherapy Associates did not safeguard its secrets, its trade secrets case now gets thrown into the volcano comes to its end.