The Secret’s in the Sauce

A doctrine in the Uniform Trade Secrets Act pits employee mobility against company confidentiality

Colorado’s inevitable disclosure doctrine is being put to the test in a district case regarding free market competition and trade secrets.

Brad Strosahl formerly worked as a sales executive for PrimeSource, a building product company. In November 2016, Strosahl resigned and accepted a position with one of PrimeSource’s competitors, Huttig. PrimeSource alleged that Strosahl stole confidential information and documents and that he was in violation of a non-compete agreement. The company filed a preliminary injunction, as well as four other suits against former employees in Chicago and Dallas.

At the time of Strosahl’s resignation, PrimeSource was in negotiations with American Fasteners regarding collated fasteners for nail guns. Strosahl worked on the project prior to his resignation. A few months later, HuttiGrip, a division of Huttig, announced a press release similar to the PrimeSource release regarding fasteners. According to a court order, it is unclear whether the fasteners were considered a trade secret to PrimeSource.

In December 2016, PrimeSource sought an ex parte temporary restraining order against Strosahl, but the order was denied. A preliminary injunction was filed for January, but was pushed back until last month. The motion was also denied by the district court.

To read this story and other complete articles featured in the July 10, 2017 print edition of Law Week Colorado, copies are available for purchase online.