One of the most difficult things in prosecuting a trade secret case is determining how to define the trade secrets that have been misappropriated. If a plaintiff defines the trade secrets too narrowly, it runs the risk of failing to stop the misappropriation. However, if a plaintiff uses a definition of trade secrets that is based on broad or generic terms, then the plaintiff runs the risk that its requested injunctive relief will be denied. Continue Reading Western District of Texas Denies Injunctive Relief Based, in part, on Plaintiff’s Vaguely Defined Trade Secrets
The Texas Uniform Trade Secret Act (TUTSA) allows for injunctive relief based on both “actual” and “threatened” disclosure of trade secrets. One the major unresolved issues of TUTSA, though, is the meaning of “threatened” disclosure. The Eastern District of Texas briefly addresses this meaning in AHS Staffing, LLC v. Quest Staffing Grp., Inc., No. 4:18-CV-00402, 2018 WL 3870067 (E.D. Tex. Aug. 15, 2018). Continue Reading Eastern District of Texas Explores the Meaning of “Threatened Disclosure” under TUTSA
As discussed in previous posts, the Texas Citizens Participation Act (TCPA) is a defense to almost any Texas Uniform Trade Secret Act (TUTSA) claim filed in Texas. However, that defense may not apply to TUTSA claims in federal court. Continue Reading The TCPA Does Not Apply to TUTSA Cases Filed in Federal Court
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
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 fifth of six alternative paths to liability under TUTSA: Continue Reading The Six Paths to Liability Under the Texas Uniform Trade Secret Act – Part 5
The Texas Uniform Trade Secret Act (TUTSA) displaces conflicting tort, restitutionary, and other law of this state providing civil remedies for misappropriation of a trade secret. Recently, the Corpus Christi Court of Appeals issued an opinion in Super Star International interpreting this provision. The Western District of Texas expanded on this opinion in Embarcadero Technologies, Inc. v. Redgate Software, Inc., No. 1:17-CV-444-RP, 2018 WL 315753 (W.D. Tex. Jan. 5, 2018). Continue Reading Western District of Texas Issues Opinion Interpreting TUTSA Preemption Provision
The Texas Uniform Trade Secret Act (TUTSA) displaces conflicting tort, restitutionary, and other law of this state providing civil remedies for misappropriation of a trade secret. In Super Starr International, LLC v. Fresh Tex Produce, LLC, 531 S.W.3d 829 (Tex. App.—Corpus Christi July 20, 2017, no pet.), the Corpus Christi Court of Appeals offered perhaps the first interpretation of the section. Continue Reading Corpus Christi Court Issues Opinion Interpreting Preemption Provision of the Texas Uniform Trade Secret Act
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: Continue Reading The Six Paths to Liability Under the Texas Uniform Trade Secrets Act – Part 4
Although Texas courts have loosened the restrictions on the enforceability of certain employee agreements over the past two decades, Texas law still requires employee agreements to be supported by adequate consideration—i.e., mutual, non-illusory promises between employee and employer. The recent case of Eurecat US, Inc. v. Marklund, No. 14-15-00418-CV, 2017 WL 2367545 (Tex. App.—Houston [14th Dist.] May 31, 2017, no pet. h.) illustrates what is not adequate consideration. Continue Reading Are Your Employee Non-Disclosure Agreements Supported by Adequate Consideration?
Last February, I had the privilege of speaking at the State Bar of Texas’s Intellectual Property Law Workshop. This year’s theme was IP Issues with Technology Startups, and my speech was Protecting your Startup Client’s Intellectual Property and Customer Relationships: The Intersection of Trade Secrets, Confidentiality Agreements, and Covenants Not to Compete. As a springboard for my speech, I discussed the pilot episode of Silicon Valley, which, as others have pointed out, has all sort of intellectual property issues to explore. Continue Reading Tips for Protecting Your Startup’s Intellectual Property and Customer Relationships: Lessons from HBO’s Silicon Valley