Spies and Lies: Protect Your Trade Secrets from Thieving Scoundrels
Someone stole your trade secrets. How much market share are you losing?
But there's something called the Texas Uniform Trade Secrets Act. This law - and the help of a good lawyer - can help keep your market share where it should be: with you.
From here on out, we'll use shorthand: TUTSA. And we won't use legalese to describe just why you should care about the TUTSA and how it can help protect and strengthen your business.
First, the bad news.
An employee turns against you and goes to work for a direct competitor. Your customer lists are stolen. The product you've tested hundreds of thousands of dollars in developing is purchased by a competitor and then reverse engineered.
It happens all the time, and it's called misappropriation.
That is what the TUTSA is all about: the misappropriation of trade secrets. More to the point: the TUTSA helps prevent misappropriation and provides for a set of remedies and damages if misappropriation happens.
Another word for misappropriation is theft.
As a business owner or executive, your trade secrets have commercial value. Trade secrets are often the lifeblood of a company. You must do everything you can to protect them. And if bad news happens, as we described above, you can take advantage of the remedies made available by the TUTSA.
Some good news: You can protect your trade secrets.
There are a number of ways to protect trade secrets. These include:
- Confidentiality agreements
- Non-solicitation agreements
- Nondisclosure agreements
- Non-compete agreements
These types of agreements provide an effective and efficient way of protecting your trade secrets. In addition, be sure that your business practices and policies are in order, e.g. the manual explicitly states that such-and-such is a trade secret; your customer lists aren't published online for all to see, etc.
More good news: You have recourse if your trade secrets are stolen.
Protecting your trade secrets with the right agreements is the right idea, but as effective as these agreements can be, your trade secrets can still be misappropriated. In that case, the TUTSA provides for a variety of remedies, including:
- Injunctive relief, i.e. putting a stop to the unauthorized use of trade secrets
- Actual damages, i.e. what the misappropriation cost you in the marketplace
- Damages for unjust enrichment, e.g. when a competitor reverse engineers your product without having to spend any R&D dollars
- A reasonable royalty fee, based on the unauthorized use
- Exemplary damages for willful and malicious misappropriation
- Recovery of attorney fees
Don't hesitate to contact us.
When it comes to trade secrets, we understand very well both the bad news and the good news. We can help protect your business against misappropriation. And, if the worst-case scenario occurs, and your trade secrets are stolen or misappropriated, we can help enforce the TUTSA.