Texas Uniform Trade Secrets Act
Trade Secret Protection, Enforcement & Litigation in Texas
Trade secrets are the confidential information that provide your company with distinct advantages over your competitors. As a business, ensuring your trade secrets are safeguarded requires proactive protection, streamlined processes, and the pursuit of available legal remedies when they are misappropriated, used, or disclosed without authorization.
Hendershot Cowart, P.C. provides the comprehensive counsel and representation businesses need to protect their interests and litigate cases involving theft of trade secrets. Taking the right steps to prevent and address trade secret violations is critical to mitigating disruption and damage and securing relief.
What Are Protected Trade Secrets?
The Texas Uniform Trade Secrets Act defines a trade secret as information that has economic value because it is not generally known, and which a company has made reasonable efforts to keep secret.
Under TUTSA, adopted in 2013, trade secrets include:
Scope of Our Legal Services
Laws governing trade secrets, unfair competition, and related issues are nuanced and complex. To stay on the forefront of this legal area, our team leverages experience and tracks judicial precedents and evolving case law.
Scope of our intellectual property legal services include:
- Proactive protection of trade secrets through reasonable efforts that include the drafting, review, analysis, and negotiation of non-compete agreements, nondisclosure agreements (NDAs), work-for-hire agreements, business transactions and licensing agreements, and other contracts and stipulations.
- Safeguarding trade secrets through processes and policies, including passwords, employee education, security protocol, classification of confidential information, and restricting access to digital or physical files.
- Rigorous evaluation of clients' most important goals and legal avenues for achieving them - such as obtaining an injunction to stop intellectual property infringement or the misappropriation of protected trade secrets.
- Assessment of market activity such as client "poaching," which may constitute a non-compete agreement violation or tortious interference of contract.
- Help for clients in weighing the value of what may be achievable and recoverable through a lawsuit against the risks and potential costs of litigation and, when deemed necessary, aggressively litigating trade secret violation disputes.
Protecting Your Texas Business from Trade Secret Violations
Protecting trade secrets, ensuring enforceability, and benefiting from available remedies in the event of violation begins with pro-active safeguards and policies. Your trade secrets are yours – and they can be kept safe from misappropriation with the following tools:
- Confidentiality / nondisclosure agreements
- Non-solicitation agreements
- Non-compete agreements
- Work for hire agreements
These tools are crucial to addressing concerns involving trade secrets and competitive restrictions and are essential to providing the grounds for a trade secret lawsuit, which typically arise from breach of contract claims and non-compete violations. While focusing on ways to protect and police trade secrets is vital, businesses must also focus on doing so in a way that enables future enforcement, litigation, and advantageous remedy provided by statutory law.
Trade Secret Enforcement
When trade secrets are misappropriated, or obtained and used through wrongful means, enforcement efforts will focus on securing injunctive relief to stop the use of confidential information and establishing civil liability for damages, including actual damages and unjust enrichment. Under TUTSA, the plaintiff will need to prove their trade secrets provide a distinct competitive advantage, and that they took “reasonable” measures to protect them, such as those mentioned above.
These cases consist generally of three phases:
- Lawsuit and temporary restraining order
- Preliminary injunction
- Litigation, or arbitration, for a recovery of damages
- Permanent injunction
Plaintiffs may bring claims when misappropriation actually takes place, or when it has been threatened, particularly when a trade secret was disclosed or used without consent and obtained through improper means.
Whether you face theft or misuse of proprietary information, the violation of a non-compete, or concerns with creating proper protections for your startup or established business, you can depend on our award-winning legal team at Hendershot Cowart, P.C. for clear and focused guidance.
Learn how our services can be of benefit to you - contact us for an initial consultation. We serve businesses and individual clients in Houston and throughout Texas.