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Michael Passarella Quoted in Bloomberg on Social Media Accounts and Trade Secrets

September 21, 2018

Employment Practices partner Michael J. Passarella was quoted in Bloomberg on the topic of social media accounts and whether they qualify as trade secrets. BH Media Group Inc., owner of the Roanoke Times, sued former employee Andy Bitter in federal court when he refused to give up the Twitter handle @AndyBitterVT, which has more than 27,000 followers, and after moving to a competitor. The publisher is arguing that the account is a trade secret. Michael notes that, “ A decision could “help employers see what arguments courts believe are more persuasive than others and provide more guidance on protecting these accounts as trade secrets.” Michael concludes that a list of Twitter followers developed through work for a business could be protected, but “If the value in a social media account is in the customers and who you are able to communicate with, it certainly can be a trade secret.”


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