For businesses, projecting proprietary information is an important task for remaining competitive in the marketplace. This is particularly important for businesses in competitive industries. There are a variety of ways to protect valuable business information, but one of the most common means of protecting valuable business information is through trade secret protections.
Trade secrets are protected at both the state level and, more recently, the federal level. In Texas, a trade secret is defined as information which has independent economic value because of its not being generally known and accessible by proper means, to others who could derive economic value from knowing or using the information. Businesses are expected to have taken reasonable measures to make sure the information is not generally known.
Texas courts may make use of several remedies for actual or threatened misappropriation of trade secrets. Courts may grant injunctive relief, for instance, which can include affirmative actions to protect trade secrets. In some cases, courts may require a party to pay reasonable royalty fees for future use of trade secret information.
Texas courts may also award damages to a party harmed by trade secret misappropriation. Damages can include not only actual losses, but also any unjust enrichment, or reasonable royalties for misappropriation. Punitive damages may be awarded in cases where there is willful and malicious misappropriation. Reasonable attorney’s fees may also be awarded in such cases, as well as in cases where a claim of misappropriation is made in bad faith or when a motion to terminate an injunction is made or resisted in bad faith.
We’ll continue looking at this topic in our next post, particularly at federal trade secrets protections and the value of working with an experienced attorney.