Unlike many other states around the country, Texas did not see any drastic changes in its non-competition laws in 2018. However, out of a 100 + cases involving non-competition disputes, the following handful stand out either because they addressed a novel issue or clarified an area of confusion in this gray area of the law.
What distinguishes those companies that are successful in enforcing their non-compete agreements from those that are not? Generally speaking, just three factors: good agreements, evidence of violations, and swift action to enforce.
The Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals recently ruled that: (1) a party must “prevail” before it can recover any attorney’s fees under the Defend Trade Secrets Act and (2) a plaintiff’s dismissal of its claims without prejudice does not confer the “prevailing party” status on defendants.
A confusing, ambiguous, or imprecise non-compete agreement will yield poor results in court. In other words: garbage in, garbage out.
Many small businesses use Google, Microsoft 360, Dropbox or some other similar systems to maintain and manage company records. All of those systems allow the administrator to (1) set restrictions on which employees can access which information within the company; (2) track what the employees do with that information; (3) set restrictions on whether the employees can print, download, copy or share the information with other employees or people outside the company; (4) periodically change passwords to access the system; and (5) many other features that can help business owners prevent their information being shared outside the company.
Credit card data (including cardholder names, credit or debit card numbers, and corresponding CVVs) were akin to passwords and usernames that provided access to something of value,” i.e. an individual’s line of credit with a financial institution or money in an account with a financial institution, and were not “trade secrets” under the Defend Trade Secrets Act.