Trade Secret Misappropriation
The digital age has made it difficult for entrepreneurs big and small to keep their company secrets success. Texas is rapidly expanding in population and new businesses. Start-up beverage companies, young digital programmers, or any other young thriving companies need to be cautious and protective of their proprietary information and trade secrets. A trade secret may be a new formula, a recipe for a beverage, a new digital marketing program, or any other type of proprietary information that is not generality known to competitors in the public.
If a secret to success is intentionally misappropriated, copied or reversed engineered and an entrepreneur is damaged there is a legal remedy. Misappropriation of trade secrets occur in Texas when the following occurs:
- A trade secret exists;
- The trade secret is improperly acquired through a confidential or contractual relationship or by other improper means;
- The defendant uses the trade secret without authorization from the plaintiff; and
- The plaintiff sustains damages because of the misappropriation.
Often misappropriation of trade secrets are by disgruntled employees. If an entrepreneur has a new innovative product, it is imperative that he has a securer and an enforceable contractual provision with all his employees that protects his trade secrets from competitors.
If a disgruntled employee or another competitor misappropriates trade secrets then the entrepreneur or company that was harmed by the misappropriation may seek civil remedies such as:
- Civil Injunction;
- Royalty-order Injunction; (forcing defendant to pay the injured party a reasonable royalty for any future trade secret use)
- Prejudgment and Post-judgment interest;
- Court costs and reasonable attorney’s fees; and
- Actual damages (if proven by clear and convincing evidence).
There are many remedies that an entrepreneur may exercise if his secret to success has been willfully and maliciously taken by a competitor or an employee. If you have been a victim of trade secret misappropriation and it undermined your idea or company, please find an experienced attorney that can remedy the illegal actions taken against you.
Julian Nacol, Attorney
Nacol Law Firm PC