In part one of this series, we saw that collecting a judgment from an individual is difficult because Texas protects up $50,000.00 of personal property items for single individuals and $100,000.00 in personal property items for families. This is one of many debtor protections under Texas law.

Another protection is Texas’s “strong pro-homestead tradition.” Norris v. Thomas, 215 S.W.3d 851, 854 (Tex. 2007). Continue Reading Not So Fast: The Difficulties of Collecting Judgments in Texas (Part II)

 

When the Texas Uniform Trade Secrets Act (TUTSA) was enacted, it removed trade secret theft as a possible basis for asserting a Texas Theft Liability Act (TTLA) claim. One of the biggest impacts of this change was the recovery of attorneys’ fees for trade secrets cases. Under the TTLA, attorneys’ fees were available to prevailing parties. Under TUTSA, attorney’ fees were only available to a prevailing party if (1) the claim for misappropriation was made in bad faith; (2) a motion to terminate an injunction is made or resisted in bad faith; or (3) willful and malicious misappropriation exists. Thus, with the enactment of TUTSA, attorneys’ fees became much more difficult to recover.

Importantly, though, litigants must remember that the TTLA still applies to misappropriations that took place before TUTSA’s September 1, 2013 enactment date. The Fifth Circuit case of Automation Support, Inc. v. Humble Design, LLC, No. 17-10433, 2018 WL 1474937 (5th Cir. Mar. 26, 2018) provides a good reminder of this. Continue Reading Don’t Forget about the Texas Theft Liabilty Act When Analyzing a Trade Secrets Claim

 

When a business severs ties with one of its affiliates, it can be difficult to retrieve and erase all the trade secret information provided to the affiliate. That problem was on display in the franchise context in Stockade Companies, LLC v. Kelly Restaurant Group., LLC, No. 1:17-CV-143-RP, 2017 WL 4640443 (W.D. Tex. Oct. 16, 2017), which involved a franchisor accusing its former franchisee of misappropriating its “buffet system” in its restaurants. Continue Reading If You Own a Trade Secret, You Probably Shouldn’t Throw It Away in a Dumpster

Generally, there are three primary types of damages of damages in a trade secrets case: (1) lost profits, (2) defendant’s profits, and (3) a reasonable royalty. The Federal Circuit in Texas Advanced Optoelectronic Sols., Inc. v. Renesas Elecs. Am., Inc., No. 2016-2121, 2018 WL 2011463 (Fed. Cir. May 1, 2018) explores who—the judge or the jury—can award defendant’s profits. Continue Reading Federal Circuit Determines That Profit Disgorgement is a Matter Exclusively for the Court, Not the Jury

In one of my earlier blog posts, I explained the how Texas’s anti-SLAAP statute, the Texas Citizens Participation Act (TCPA), is used as a defense to a misappropriation of trade secrets claim. Craig v. Tejas Promotions, LLC, No. 03-16-00611-CV, 2018 WL 2050213 (Tex. App.—Austin May 3, 2018, no pet. h.) provides another example of this defense. Continue Reading The TCPA Strikes Again

One of the hardest lessons to learn in litigation is that obtaining a judgment against an opposing party by no means guarantees that your client will be paid. Unless the opposing party has the cash on hand (and a willingness to pay) or an insurance policy covering the claim, you will need to obtain a writ of execution from the court and then have your local constable attempt to seize the party’s assets to pay for the judgment.

When it comes to individuals in Texas, finding those assets can be difficult. Continue Reading Not So Fast: The Difficulties of Collecting Judgments in Texas (Part I)

O’Connor’s Texas Causes of Action is one of the preeminent sources for information on Texas causes of action and defenses.  In the latest edition’s chapter on Trade Secret–Statutory Misappropriation, the authors of Texas Causes of Action cite two articles written by Brackett & Ellis attorneys Joe Cleveland and Heath Coffman.  The articles, which help explain the elements and defenses for a trade secret misappropriation claim under the Texas Uniform Trade Secret Act (TUTSA), are: Continue Reading Brackett & Ellis Attorneys Cited in O’Connor’s Texas Causes of Action

Under Texas law, the one-satisfaction rule states that a plaintiff is entitled to only one recovery for any damages suffered because of a particular injury. In TMRJ Holdings, Inc. v. Inhance Techs., LLC, No. 01-16-00849-CV, 2018 WL 326421 (Tex. App.—Houston [1st Dist.] Jan. 9, 2018, no pet. h.), a misappropriation of trade secrets case, defendant argued that plaintiff’s judgment against it for a $4 million reasonable royalty and a permanent injunction violated the one satisfaction rule because the calculation of a reasonable royalty contemplated the future of the misappropriated technology. Continue Reading Houston Court of Appeals Holds that an Award of a Reasonable Royalty and Permanent Injunction Does Not Violate the One-Satisfaction Rule

In my previous posts, I have discussed the varying standards for injunctive relief under the Texas Uniform Trade Secret Act (TUTSA). Some courts have required showings of irreparable harm. The Southern District of Texas, however, does not. Continue Reading Southern District of Texas Does Not Require Irreparable Harm for Modification of Temporary Injunction

In my earlier posts, I discussed the developing standards for injunctive relief under the Texas Uniform Trade Secret Act (TUTSA). Under the Northern District of Texas’s analysis, proof of irreparable harm is required but that irreparable harm can be established with a showing that the “defendant possesses the trade secrets and is in a position to use them.” Continue Reading Corpus Christi Court of Appeals Applies the Irreparable Injury Standard for Trade Secret Injunction