What’s (all the) Muckenfuss about? Trade Secrets and Non-Disclosure Provisions

In Carolina Chemical Equipment Company v. Muckenfuss, 322 S.C. 289, 471 S.E.2d 721 (S.C. Ct. App. 1996), the South Carolina Court of Appeals held that when a broad trade secret provision “basically has the effect of a covenant to to compete, [the Court] must subject it to the same scrutiny as a covenant not to compete.” Although the South Carolina legislature attempted to limit the holding of Muckenfuss the following year, the case remains important for several reasons: It began the difficult task of culling “trade secrets” from general business information as well as because it did so in the defense of an employee’s right to work.

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