Southwest Airlines Co. recently filed a complaint against Hilton Worldwide, Inc. alleging that Hilton breached its contract with Southwest by sending marketing emails to a list of Southwest customers provided to Hilton in connection with Hilton’s partnership with Southwest’s Rapid Rewards program. In its complaint, Southwest alleges that Southwest provided Hilton with information regarding Southwest customers in connection with Hilton and Southwest’s joint marketing of Southwest’s rewards programs. Southwest alleges that after the expiration of their partnership, Hilton shared Southwest’s customer information with a Southwest competitor and sent marketing emails promoting the competitor’s rewards program, which Southwest claims violates the agreement between the parties and misappropriated Southwest’s confidential information. Southwest also alleges that Hilton breached its agreement with Southwest by using Southwest’s name and trademarks in marketing emails after expiration of the agreement.
TIP: When sharing information with promotional partners, it is generally a good idea to ensure that contract provisions are in place which prevent the use of that information for any purpose other than the intended joint promotional use. You should also be aware that your use of any information you receive may be subject to contractual restrictions, and check carefully before using such information for any purpose other than the intended joint promotional use.