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Board of Trade v. Christie

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Citation Edit

Board of Trade v. Christie Grain & Stock Co., 198 U.S. 236 (1905) (full-text).

Factual Background Edit

The Chicago Board of Trade sought to prevent the use and distribution, by the defendants, of the continuous quotations of prices on sales of grain futures which the Board collected and confidentially communicated to a great number of its own customers.

U.S. Supreme Court Proceedings Edit

In affirming the judgment for the Board, the Supreme Court stated:

In the first place, apart from special objections, the plaintiff's collection of quotations is entitled to the protection of the law. It stands like a trade secret. The plaintiff has the right to keep the work which it has done, or paid for doing, to itself. The fact that others might do similar work, if they might, does not authorize them to steal the plaintiffs. The plaintiff does not lose its rights by communicating the results to persons, even if many, in confidential relations to itself under a contract not to make it public, and strangers to the trust will be restrained from getting at the knowledge by inducing a breach of trust, and using knowledge obtained by such a breach.

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