The Fifth Circuit recently considered whether the federal copyright and patent laws preempt (trump) Texas common law claim of unfair competition by misappropriation.
A lot of times a company rushes to court asking the judge to stop a former employee or his new employer from using the company’s confidential information or soliciting its customers based on the agreements that the former employee had signed with the company.
A “list of actual or potential customers or suppliers” of a company qualifies as a trade secret as long as: (1) its owner, i.e. the company, took reasonable measures to keep it secret and (2) the list has an economic value because it is not generally known and cannot be easily determined by another person.
Before pleading a Texas Theft Liability Act claim against an employee for stealing the company’s data, information, documents, or other property, the company should make sure that there is at least some evidence of the employee’s intent to deprive the company of its property.
In my practice, I see this scenario all the time: an employee leaves to work for a competitor, the employer realizes that its non-disclosure (NDA) or non-compete agreement was inadequate to protect it from what just happened, so the company rolls out a new…
Texas’ recent amendments to its trade secrets statute made it the most comprehensive and modern statute in the nation. It is the only statute in the nation that addresses when a competitor can be excluded from the courtroom to prevent disclosure of trade secrets during the lawsuit.
In this state, the consideration must have a “reasonable relationship” to the employer’s interest in restraining the employee from competing. Simply restricting an employee from lawful competition for the sake of preventing competition will almost certainly fail.
At a bare minimum, all businesses should have a standard confidentiality (non-disclosure) agreement for its employees, vendors, investors, and anyone else who has access to the business’s trade secrets.
Before filing a trade secrets case or in the early stages of such case, a company bringing a lawsuit should always consider the following questions: (1) what damages did we suffer? (2) how do we calculate such damages? (3) how do we prove the damages in court?
It is a well-known fact that when the economy improves, employee mobility rises as well. The most valuable employees – those with a specialized skill set and many years of experience in a particular industry – tend to stay within that industry while moving among…