Cases from Grimes

California Court of Appeal, Second Appellate District, Division Eight
Ex- game co. employee did not sufficiently keep his list of industry contacts secret to survive summary judgment in trade secrets action against former employer

The Second Appellate District, Division Eight of the California Court of Appeal, in Blackwell v. Blizzard Entertainment, Inc., recently upheld the lower court’s summary judgment dismissal of Blackwell’s claim against his former employer Blizzard. Blackwell, who worked as a sound engineer for the popular video game developer, claimed that Blizzard had raided his list consisting of contact information for voice actors that he assembled over many years working as a freelancer. Blackwell had previously freelanced for Blizzard as well, but eventually became a full employee. Once he joined Blizzard’s staff full-time he was required to turn over his list of contacts. The court, in upholding the dismissal of Blackwell’s claims, noted that he utterly failed to indicate that his list was in any way intended to be confidential. Blackwell did not have discussions regarding the trade secrets status of his list, make any steps towards establishing non-disclosure agreements, or cease "routinely forwarding" contact information from his list to other Blizzard employees. Thus Blackwell could not conceivably meet the “reasonable efforts to maintain secrecy” requirement of trade secrecy under California’s version of the Uniform Trade Secrets Act.