As previously mentioned in this blog, one of the biggest issues in trade secrets litigation in Texas is the application of the state’s anti-SLAAP statute the Texas Citizens Participation Act (TCPA) to claims under the Texas Uniform Trade Secret Act (TUTSA). Because of the broad language of the TCPA, defendants can file a TCPA motion to dismiss in almost any trade secrets case. Texas Representative Jeff Leach, however, has filed a bill to change that. Continue Reading Bill to Amend TCPA filed in Texas House of Representatives
In Steves & Sons, Inc. v. JELD-WEN, Inc., No. 3:16-CV-545, 2018 WL 2172502 (E.D. Va. May 10, 2018), the Eastern District of Virginia provides an in-depth look at unjust enrichment and reasonable royalty damages under both the Defend Trade Secrets Act (DTSA) and the Texas Uniform Trade Secrets Act (TUTSA). Continue Reading Eastern District of Virginia Explores Damages Under DTSA and TUTSA
Damages for misappropriation of trade secrets are generally understood as (1) lost profits, (2) defendant’s profits, or (3) a reasonable royalty. These are damages traditionally sought against a competitor. But that does not mean that a departing employee who takes trade secrets to a competitor is immune from a damage award. Continue Reading Another Reason Employees Should Think Twice Before Taking Their Employer’s Trade Secrets
Over the course of several cases, Judge Mazzant from the Eastern District of Texas has emphasized the circumstantial nature of the evidence used to establish misappropriation of trade secrets. SPBS, Inc. v. Mobley, No. 4:18-CV-00391, 2018 WL 4185522, (E.D. Tex. Aug. 31, 2018) is a good example of the court relying on such circumstantial evidence to issue an injunction against a former employee accused of taking trade secrets.
Continue Reading Why Employees Should Not Lie about Their New Employers
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