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)
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.