A Claim For Misappropriation Of Trade Secrets Must Be Plead With "Sufficient Particularity"

The Court of Appeals affirmed yesterday a 12(b)(6) dismissal of a claim under the North Carolina Trade Secrets Protection Act, in Washburn v. Yadkin Valley Bank and Trust Co. 

In Washburn, the Defendant had made a counterclaim charging that the Plaintiffs, former employees, had misappropriated its trade secrets.  The trade secrets the Defendant referenced in its Complaint were its "business methods; clients, their specific requirements and needs; and other confidential information."

The Court held that the Defendant was under an obligation to identify the trade secrets involved with "sufficient particularity to enable [the opposing party] to delineate that which he is accused of misappropriating and a court to determine whether misappropriation has or is threatened to occur." 

The Court characterized Defendant's allegations as "broad and vague," and "general and conclusory."  It affirmed the trial court's dismissal of the claims.

The case was summarized on the North Carolina Appellate Blog.  That's an excellent resource which reports promptly on civil decisions by the North Carolina Supreme Court and Court of Appeals and the Fourth Circuit Court of Appeals.

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