If you have been following my blog, you know that Texas’s anti-slapp statute—the Texas Citizens Participation Act (TCPA)—frequently applies to commercial litigation claims. McDonald Oilfield Operations, LLC v. 3B Inspection, LLC, No. 01-18-00118-CV, 2018 WL 6377432 (Tex. App.—Houston [1st Dist.] Dec. 6, 2018, no pet. h.) is another example of the use of the TCPA as a defense to a commercial litigation suit. In McDonald Oilfield Operations, plaintiff 3B Inspection brought claims a defamation, business disparagement, and tortious interference with contract after defendant McDonald Oilfield Operations, a competitor in the pipeline monitoring business, allegedly told one of 3B’s customers that 3B was “not a real company” and that McDonald Oilfield had suspended some 3B’s employees’ qualifications. (Three of 3B’s employees had worked for McDonald Oilfield as independent contractors and had received their credentials through McDonald Oilfield. McDonald Oilfield asserted claims that these employees had misappropriated trade secrets and stolen company property.)
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In Realpage, Inc. v. Enter. Risk Control, LLC, 4:16-CV-00737, 2017 WL 3313729 (E.D. Tex. Aug. 3, 2017), the Eastern District of Texas explored the definition of “use” under the Texas Uniform Trade Secrets Act (“TUTSA”).  In Realpage, the Court granted a temporary injunction to the plaintiff who alleged its former employee was using its trade-secret information. Defendant argued that plaintiff had no evidence that defendant was using the alleged trade-secret information. Although plaintiff had little evidence of actual use, it argued that “use” can be implied from defendant’s quick development of its own software code that was similar to plaintiff’s.  The Court agreed.
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