Our trade secret lawyer in Austin, Texas from Gray & Becker, P.C. understands how a “simple” trade secret is not necessarily simple at all, and the inability to protect it can make or break a business. This is particularly true if the secret has a direct correlation the company’s core business practices. In actuality, a trade secret might be almost anything that your company can leverage in order to secure or increase its market share. A trade secret therefore can take many forms: a process, a chemical formula, a marketing strategy, a technique, or a method that sets your company apart from its competitors. If that secret becomes known, or is stolen, it can have disastrous repercussions for the reputation and financial success of the original trade secret owner.
Gray & Becker, P.C. focuses a great deal on this area of the law, and our trade secret lawyer protects the best interests of companies located in Austin, TX who have legal concerns. If you are facing litigation of one kind or another involving a trade secret, contact our office and find out more about our legal services during a free and confidential case review.
Trade Secrets Are Governed by Federal and State Laws
A trade secret can wield a tremendous amount of power and is therefore subject to being abused. As such, they are governed by laws on the federal as well as state levels. The Texas Uniform Trade Secrets Act covers trade secrets and is aptly named as such. In some cases, a trade secret violation could also fall under the federal Economic Espionage Act of 1917. That act permits the federal government to punish those who steal a trade secret and the violator may be subject to fines as well as imprisonment. If your Austin, TX company has experienced the theft of a trade secret, a lawyer from our firm can determine what laws the violator might have broken. Violations can be reported to the authorities and does not excuse the violator from also facing civil litigation that Gray & Becker, P.C. might pursue against them for your damages.
Criteria for Determining What Qualifies as a Trade Secret
Though there is a wide range of trade secret types, there are certain criteria that must be met for something to qualify as such. After a detailed review of your circumstances, your trade secret lawyer in Austin, TX from Gray & Becker, P.C. can determine if the following criteria are met:
- It contains or involves information that is of value to your company as well as to your company’s competitors. It must be information that is not generally already known in the public domain and is in fact only known to your company’s personnel.
- It has a calculable economic value due to it not being publicly understood or accessible. In part, its value has a relationship to the amount of money your company has invested into developing it as it is difficult to create it without that investment which may have been research and development.
- Your company has taken reasonable measures to protect that trade secret and to keep it secret (out of the public domain). You must be able to show how your company did this based on particular actions taken by your company.
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If you would like to consult a seasoned trade secret lawyer in Austin, TX, contact our office to schedule a meeting.
Understanding the Defend Trade Secrets Act (DTSA)
In 2016, then-President Barack Obama signed the Defend Trade Secrets Act (DTSA) of 2016 into law. This law was a welcome sight for many Texas businesses, as it grants several additional legal protections to companies that have been the victim of trade secret misappropriation. If your company’s trade secrets have been misused by another party, it is imperative that you speak to a qualified business litigation attorney from trade secret lawyer in Austin, TX immediately.
Five Things Your Company Needs to Know About the DTSA
- The Law Provides a Federal Cause of Action
The DTSA provides a federal cause of action for trade secret misappropriation claims. Previously, these types of claims were handled exclusively under state law. The ability to take federal action to protect trade secrets is very valuable for many businesses.
- Significant Compensation May Be Available Under the Act
If your business has suffered financial losses because of the unlawful use of one of your protected trade secrets, significant financial compensation may be available. Indeed, your company may be able to seek full compensation for any losses, fees for an Austin, TX trade secret lawyer, and, in certain cases, punitive damages.
- The Law Gives Affected Businesses Access to Additional Enforcement Tools
The DTSA provides companies with expanded access to legal tools that can help protect their trade secret rights. For example, companies are now able to obtain injunctive relief more easily than they could previously. Additionally, victimized businesses may also be able to initiate civil action to seize property from the misappropriating party without giving that party any advanced notice. This is a very powerful enforcement tool.
- There is a Three-Year Statute of Limitations to Take Legal Action
All claims brought under this law must be initiated within three years of when the trade secret misappropriation was discovered, or alternatively, when the misappropriation should have reasonably been discovered.
- Your Company’s Contracts Should Be Updated
Finally, your business must update all contracts that involve the protection of trade secrets. The updated language should make reference to the DTSA. Trade secret misappropriation claims are highly complicated. Unfortunately, far too many businesses are unable to effectively enforce their legal rights because their contracts are poorly drafted. Do not let this happen to your company. Please be sure to have your contracts reviewed by an experienced Austin, TX trade secret lawyer.
Do You Need an Austin, TX Trade Secret Lawyer?
We can help. At Gray & Becker, P.C., our team of dedicated business law attorneys are standing by, ready to protect the rights and interests of your company. We have experience handling a wide variety of business law issues, including trade secret misappropriation cases. To request a no-fee, no-obligation, review of your case, with a trade secret lawyer Austin, TX clients recommend, please contact us today.