Trade Secret Misappropriation in Texas (Part I)

We are blogging on “Non-competes, Trade Secrets, Fiduciary Duties, and the Inevitable Disclosure Doctrine.” Mark Oberti has prepared a detailed paper on all of these issues, which can be found here.

Following up on yesterday’s post, more on Trade Secrets Under Texas Law:

The mere fact that knowledge of a trade secret may be acquired through proper means does not preclude protection from those who would secure that knowledge by unfair means. See Weed Eater, Inc. v. Dowling, 562 S.W.2d 898, 901 (Tex. Civ. App.–Houston [1st Dist.] 1978, writ ref’d n.r.e.). When deciding whether to grant or deny a request for a temporary injunction, the trial court does not decide whether the information sought to be protected is a trade secret; rather it determines whether the applicant has established that the information is entitled to trade secret protection until a trial on the merits. See INEOS Group Ltd. v. Chevron Phillips Chemical Co., LP, 312 S.W.3d 843, 848 (Tex. App.–Houston [1st Dist.] 2009, no pet.); Sharma v. Vinmar Int’l, Ltd., 231 S.W.3d 405, 424 (Tex. App.–Houston [14th Dist.] 2007, no pet.); Ctr. for Econ. Justice v. Am. Ins. Ass’n, 39 S.W.3d 337, 343 (Tex. App.–Austin 2001, no pet.); T-N-T Motorsports, Inc. v. Hennessey Motorsports, Inc., 965 S.W.2d 18, 23-24 (Tex. App.–Houston [1st Dist.] 1998, no pet.). That an order is issued granting trade secret protection does not mean the protected information is a trade secret. See Ctr. for Econ. Justice, 39 S.W.3d at 343. Rather, trade secret protection is warranted when an effort is made to keep material important to a particular business from competitors. See INEOS Group Ltd., 312 S.W.3d at 854; Rugen, 864 S.W.2d at 552; Gonzales v. Zamora, 791 S.W.2d 258, 265 (Tex. App.–Corpus Christi 1990, no writ).

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