The Texas Uniform Trade Secret (TUTSA) allows a defendant to recover its attorneys’ fees if (1) the claim for misappropriation was brought in bad faith or (2) a motion to terminate an injunction is made or resisted in bad faith. The recent Dallas Court of Appeals case of Performance Pulsation Control, Inc. v. Sigma Drilling Technologies, No. 05-17-01423, 2018 WL 6599180 (Tex. App.—Dallas 2018, no pet. h.) is one of the few cases that has evaluated that standard.
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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.
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