On Friday, May 19, 2017, Texas Governor Greg Abbott signed House Bill 1995, which make several amendments to the Texas Uniform Trade Secret Act (TUTSA). House Bill 1995 amends TUTSA to make some of its provisions coextensive with DTSA in order to eliminate confusion and to avoid possible forum shopping between state and federal courts. The amendment also codifies the holding in In re M-I, L.L.C. TUTSA, as amended, is now the most modern and comprehensive law on trade secrets in the nation.
My colleague Joe Cleveland and I recently published an overview of these amendments in State Bar of Texas Intellectual Property Section’s Tipsheet newsletter. You can read the overview here. However, this article was based on an earlier version of House Bill 1995, which included an amendment to section 134A.006 that provided that the court’s discretionary power to seal court records exists “[n]otwithstanding any other law, including Rule 76a, Texas Rules of Civil Procedure . . . .” Section 134A.006, however, already granted trial courts the discretionary power to seal court records in order to preserve the secrecy of any alleged trade secrets. The court’s existing power to seal court records under TUTSA, combined with section 134A.007(c)’s language that TUTSA explicitly controls over conflicting Texas Rules of Civil Procedure (which would include Rule 76a), rendered the proposed amendment unnecessary. Therefore, this provision was removed from the legislation.