According to a recent decision from the Dallas Court of Appeals, a permanent injunction should last forever, unless the company or the person accused of misappropriating the trade secrets provides sufficient proof that a lesser time period is adequate. What does this mean? Well, it means that a business suing for a theft of trade secrets will be able to permanently prevent the thief from using its trade secrets, unless the thief can prove that its competing product incorporating the stolen trade secrets is a simple product, the construction of which is obvious and easily imitated.
In other words, if the competing product that was made using the stolen trade secrets is complex and would have required reverse engineering or complex research to make, then a perpetual injunction is proper. If the competing product is a simple one, then the defendant can prove in court that an injunction should last only a short period of time, so as to eliminate any advantage the thief gained in the market place by stealing the trade secrets.
If you are facing a trade secret misappropriation claim or are suspecting that a theft of trade secrets occurred at your company, contact Leiza Dolghih at Leiza.Dolghih@GodwinLewis.com.