Clarity for Austin Business Defense for Misappropriation of Trade Secrets

On March 4, 2013, Val Perkins, a Gardere Wynne Sewell partner, reported that Senator John Carona, R-Dallas, was authoring S.B. 953, a bill seeking adoption of the Uniform Trade Secrets Act, codifying and modernizing existing Texas common law as it relates to misappropriation of trade secrets, while enhancing available remedies to aggrieved businesses.   Perkins also stated that the bill includes specifics on what information is actually considered to be a trade secret, providing more “clarity and consistency as compared to the common law.”

The bill includes an expanded definition of protected trade secrets when a company is making a “reasonable” effort to maintain a secret, and which derives its value from not being generally known to the public such as a:

  • formula
  • pattern
  • compilation
  • program
  • device
  • method
  • technique
  • process
  • financial data
  • list of actual, or potential customers or suppliers

According to Perkins, the bill does not require a company’s confidential information being in “continuous use,” which allows for a broader class of trade secrets.

Under S.B. 953, attorney’s fees may be covered for the plaintiff if the court rules the misappropriation of trade secrets was malicious and willful.  In addition, a defendant may be able to recover their attorney’s fees if it is ruled that the misappropriation suit was made in bad faith against them.

The legislation encourages the courts to maintain trade secrets by limiting access to confidential information to the experts and attorneys involved in trade secret suits.

Contact Austin’s Business Defense Lawyer

If you believe there has been a misappropriation of your company’s trade secrets, contact Austin Business Defense Lawyer team at Shaw Cowart, today.