Texas Lawyer has signed up Alan Bush as a freelance contributor. His latest article, "Major Changes in Texas Uniform Trade Secrets Act," appeared in the newspaper on May 27.
Here's what Alan had to say about how the Texas Uniform Trade Secrets Act impacts a fairly common scenario for trade secret theft – when a key employee defects to a competitor:
The Texas Legislature adopted the Texas Uniform Trade Secrets Act (TUTSA), effective Sept. 1. The act is, no doubt, a blockbuster. It blows away years of common law civil remedies for trade secret misappropriation; just check out Texas Civil Practice & Remedies Code §134A.007.
Let’s take a look at a few places where TUTSA impacts a fairly common scenario for trade-secret theft: when a key employee defects to a competitor.
• Up for grabs: Texas courts rarely look outside the state’s borders for guidance. But TUTSA §134A.008 demands it. Courts must apply the act with an eye toward creating a “uniform” law among the 48 states that have adopted the act.
The trouble is that states sometimes apply parts of the act differently. Issue-by-issue, Texas courts must now pick the camp to join. My bet is that they’ll stick as closely as possible to the current common law with which they’re comfortable. Only time will tell...
Read the full article for more. In it, Alan lays out some practical ways the Uniform Act affects:
- The types of information that will qualify for trade secret protection;
- Hiring from a competitor without getting tangled up in a trade secret enforcement action; and
- Cease and desist letters when a key employee defects.