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

In Thoroughbred Ventures, LLC v. Disman, No. 4:18-CV-00318, 2018 WL 3752852 (E.D. Tex. Aug. 8, 2018), plaintiff Thoroughbred Ventures sued its former manager Disman, alleging that Disman breached his employment agreement, which provided that all client contact and background information belonged to Thoroughbred and constituted “Confidential Information” and a trade secret of Thoroughbred. Continue Reading Employer Not Entitled to an Injunction Prohibiting Former Employee from Using Customer Information Committed to Memory

 

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

 

When a business severs ties with one of its affiliates, it can be difficult to retrieve and erase all the trade secret information provided to the affiliate. That problem was on display in the franchise context in Stockade Companies, LLC v. Kelly Restaurant Group., LLC, No. 1:17-CV-143-RP, 2017 WL 4640443 (W.D. Tex. Oct. 16, 2017), which involved a franchisor accusing its former franchisee of misappropriating its “buffet system” in its restaurants. Continue Reading If You Own a Trade Secret, You Probably Shouldn’t Throw It Away in a Dumpster

In one of my earlier blog posts, I explained the how Texas’s anti-SLAAP statute, the Texas Citizens Participation Act (TCPA), is used as a defense to a misappropriation of trade secrets claim. Craig v. Tejas Promotions, LLC, No. 03-16-00611-CV, 2018 WL 2050213 (Tex. App.—Austin May 3, 2018, no pet. h.) provides another example of this defense. Continue Reading The TCPA Strikes Again

O’Connor’s Texas Causes of Action is one of the preeminent sources for information on Texas causes of action and defenses.  In the latest edition’s chapter on Trade Secret–Statutory Misappropriation, the authors of Texas Causes of Action cite two articles written by Brackett & Ellis attorneys Joe Cleveland and Heath Coffman.  The articles, which help explain the elements and defenses for a trade secret misappropriation claim under the Texas Uniform Trade Secret Act (TUTSA), are: Continue Reading Brackett & Ellis Attorneys Cited in O’Connor’s Texas Causes of Action

In my previous posts, I have discussed the varying standards for injunctive relief under the Texas Uniform Trade Secret Act (TUTSA). Some courts have required showings of irreparable harm. The Southern District of Texas, however, does not. Continue Reading Southern District of Texas Does Not Require Irreparable Harm for Modification of Temporary Injunction

In my earlier posts, I discussed the developing standards for injunctive relief under the Texas Uniform Trade Secret Act (TUTSA). Under the Northern District of Texas’s analysis, proof of irreparable harm is required but that irreparable harm can be established with a showing that the “defendant possesses the trade secrets and is in a position to use them.” Continue Reading Corpus Christi Court of Appeals Applies the Irreparable Injury Standard for Trade Secret Injunction