In my earlier posts, I explored the complicated definition of “misappropriation” under the Texas Uniform Trade Secret Act (TUTSA). Litigants and courts often fail to understand all the ways a trade secret may be misappropriated. In this post, I explore the fourth of six alternative paths to liability under TUTSA:
v. Disclosure or use of a trade secret of another without express or implied consent by a person who, at the time of disclosure or use, knew or had reason to know that the person’s knowledge of the trade secret was acquired under circumstances giving rise to a duty to maintain the secrecy of or limit the use of the trade secret [§ 134A.002 (3)(B)(ii)(b)]
Path four relates to persons who misuse or improperly disclose trade secrets that were acquired under proper means. The plaintiff must show that the defendant permissibly acquired the information within a relationship of confidence and later disclosed or used the information in violation of that confidence. Lifesize, Inc. v. Chimene, 1:16-CV-1109, 2017 WL 1532609, at *9 (W.D. Tex. Apr. 26, 2017). For example, if an employee received trade secret information pursuant to a non-disclosure agreement and then disclosed that information to a competitor in violation of the non-disclosure agreement, the employee would be liable under path four. His Co. v. Stover, No. 4:15-CV-00842, 2016 WL 4376611, at *6–7 (S.D. Tex. Aug. 15, 2016), vacated as moot, No. 4:15-CV-00842, 2016 WL 6134939 (S.D. Tex. Sept. 8, 2016).