An issue that is beginning to work its way through courts across the country is whether a business whose employees use LinkedIn can still protect a customer list as a trade secret. Although this has not yet been addressed in a Texas appellate court decision, I suspect that former employees have already used what I will call the LinkedIn Defense at the trial court level. That could stay under the radar because Texas trial courts don’t publish decisions explaining the basis for their rulings.
This post explains the issue facing employers; provides links to a few case opinions from outside Texas that have addressed LinkedIn in the context of trade secrets; and ends with my thoughts about what employers can do if they want to use LinkedIn and still protect customer lists as trade secrets. Continue reading