Social Media is the engine of today’s marketing. Whether FaceBook, LinkedIn, Yelp or Twitter, companies are enmesh using social media to drive business.
That is exactly the case of PhoneDog. PhoneDog is in the business of reviewing the latest mobile products and offering users the resources to compare prices and shop from various providers. PhoneDog hired Noah Kravitz as a product reviewer and video blogger. As part of his employment with PhoneDog, Noah Kravitz wrote and produced video content, which was then transmitted on PhoneDog's website and disseminated through a twitter account, @PhoneDog_Noah. The twitter feed, @PhoneDog_Noah, was a great success. It garnered approximately 17,000 followers. Followers were getting the twit feed and going to PhoneDog’s website.
Business was good, but then Noah Kravitz quit his employment with PhoneDog. He did freelance for awhile and then took a job with TechnoBuffalo, a competitor of PhoneDog. And guess, what……. He took the twitter account and all the 17,000 followers with him. Post his resignation, Noah Kratvitz retained the pass code for the twitter. He simply changed the twitter account name to @noahkravitz.
Upset about losing business and its competitor getting access to the twitter account and the more than 17,000 followers, PhoneDog sued Noah Kravitz claiming misuse of trade secrets, stealing, and interfering with PhoneDog’s business. Noah Kravitz moved to have the suit dismissed saying, “Twitter follower information is public, I did not steal it, and it is a not secret; therefore it cannot be a trade secret.” The court declined to dismiss PhoneDog’s suit. The case will move forward to determine if the twitter account information is in fact a trade secret capable of being stolen by employees.