There are many precautions business owners have to take to ensure their business is properly operating and not obstructing any rules or regulations. This includes ensuring that employees are also adhering to guidelines. For some endeavors, trade secrets are an essential part of the organization's operation, and if that information becomes stolen, it can result in serious repercussions.
Trade secrets encompass a wide range of information designed to give a company an economic advantage over its competitors. This could include:
- Customer lists;
- Product formulas;
- Manufacturing processes;
- Business strategies; and,
- Other sensitive information.
Keeping Trade Secrets Safe
Trade secrets are typically not publicly available. At the same time, they can be challenging to protect. Most companies take all measures to keep trade secrets confidential. This typically involves:
- Keeping the information in secure locations;
- Restricting access to it;
- Having employees sign non-disclosure agreements;
- Implementing security measures such as firewalls and data encryption; and,
- Conducting regular security audits.
Even with safety plans in place, trade secrets are still targets for unethical obtainment. If this information is leaked or stolen, a company can lose its competitive advantage and suffer significant financial damage. Additionally, a business owner will need to implement new practices to ensure this type of theft doesn’t occur again. This is not only emotionally taxing but financially costly as well.
Trade Secrets Laws
The Uniform Trade Secrets Act (UTSA) is a law adopted in most states, including Texas. The UTSA defines trade secrets and establishes rules for handling trade secret disputes. The UTSA also provides civil remedies for trade secret misappropriation.
Additionally, Texas Penal Code Ann. § 31.05(b) states explicitly that trade secret theft is a felony offense if the trade secret has a value of $2,500 or more. Even if a trade secret's value is less than this amount, business owners should explore their options to take action against those who committed the theft.
What Can a Business Owner Do After Trade Secret Theft?
Trade secrets are incredibly valuable to a business. Companies can help safeguard their competitive advantages and bottom line by taking steps to protect them.
If business owners believe that their trade secrets have been stolen, they should take immediate action. They should contact an experienced attorney specializing in trade secret law and file a civil lawsuit or criminal charges. Most importantly, a business owner needs to take action as soon as possible.
The knowledgeable trade secret theft attorneys at Hawash Cicack & Gaston, LLP are here to help should you become a victim of theft of trade secrets. Whether it was a former employee or business competitor that committed this act, you have every right to take legal action and need a relentless team working on getting you the best outcome possible. Contact Hawash Cicack & Gaston, LLP today so we can review your case and outline the best course of action. (713) 589-7249