The “Inevitable Disclosure” Doctrine in Texas

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.

What Is The Inevitable Disclosure Doctrine in Texas?

The inevitable disclosure doctrine builds on the legal rules relating to trade secrets (discussed in previous posts), and holds as follows:

[T]here are circumstances in which trade secrets inevitably will be used or disclosed, even if the defendant swears that he or she will keep the information confidential. Courts applying the doctrine have differed over its reach and the circumstances required for its application, but, generally speaking, the doctrine applies when a defendant has had access to trade secrets and then defects to the trade secret owner’s competition to perform duties so similar that the court believes that those duties cannot be performed without making use of trade secrets relating to the previous affiliation.

See Cardinal Health Staffing Network, Inc. v. Bowen, 106 S.W.3d 230, 242 (Tex. App.–Houston [1st Dist.] 2003, no pet.) (quoting Linda K. Stevens, Trade Secrets & Inevitable Disclosure, 36 Tort & Ins. L.J. 917, 929 (Summer 2001)).

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