A trade secret is considered any business information that is not generally known to others within the industry. Any closely-held details that give a business a competitive advantage over competitors can be a trade secret, such as the identity of a low-cost supplier, a unique process or manufacturing technique, technical information such as a formula or algorithm, or a business plan. While almost every business has at least some trade secrets, they are quite fragile because they protect information and resources that are secret, which necessarily means that protection is lost if the secret becomes publicly known.
Improper disclosure of a company’s failure if they should become known to the wrong parties. Unlike other types of intellectual property such as patented inventions, trade secrets, and essential know-how can potentially be owned by a single company forever if they can maintain its confidentiality. This can be much easier said than done, especially without a proper trade secret protection program.
Stolen or leaked trade secrets can render millions of dollars’ worth of research and development useless, destroying business in the process. Due to the introduction of the internet, increased employee mobility, and the fast-paced nature of today’s business environment, it has become increasingly difficult for companies to safeguard these assets. For this reason, trade secret protection programs are highly valuable.
If businesses are not proactive to shield this information, these secrets can be stolen or infringed upon by former employees, rivals within the industry, or former business partners. The Waco trade secret attorneys at our firm are familiar with the intricacies of trade secret law and can help protect your company’s confidential information from the wrong hands.
Waco Trade Secret Attorney
For every business, there exists any number of competitors attempting to offer the same or better product or service for less money. Often the only way for a company to stand out from the crowd or find profitable success is to offer something that no one else can, to use, and harbor a trade secret.
According to 18 U.S. Code § 1832, a trade secret may be any:
• Physical object
• Formula, process, or pattern
• Collection of information
• According to the same legal statute, a trade secret must also:
• Give its controller or owner a competitive advantage.
• Be hidden from the public or others with reasonable effort.
Texas has adopted the Uniform Trade Secrets Act, which operates in tandem with federal statutes. Due to the uniqueness and potential value of a trade secret, some businesses may attempt to steal them from competitors for their use. As theft of trade secrets is a violation of state and federal laws, it must be taken seriously and addressed immediately with appropriate legal action.
Potential Trade Secret Vulnerability
A trade secret is unique in the way that the law protects it without anyone going through any proper steps or government registration to claim it as their own. To make and keep it as a trade secret, you must only make reasonable efforts to keep the information or object confidential.
Examples of “reasonable efforts” include:
• Password protecting a computer used by more than one person.
• Physically locking away information.
• Encrypting digital information that goes through internet channels.
As informal as it may be to create a trade secret, it can be eliminated just as informally and readily. If your trade secret becomes available to the public – something that becomes easier as time goes by, and we get deeper into the age of networking technology – it is no longer protected as a trade secret.
To protect your company and your profits, whether you are being accused or are the accuser, contact a Waco trade secret misappropriation lawyer at Dunnam & Dunnam.
Client’s opinion on our intellectual property practice
Our lawyers are seasoned litigators in Waco federal court. But do not just take our word for it, listen to what one of our corporate clients says about the experience with Dunnam & Dunnam.
“We do business all over the world and in all 50 states and the need to hire litigation counsel that can win and is well-connected with the local bench and bar is paramount. Over my career, I have hired hundreds of lawyers across the globe and still do to this day. Jim Dunnam is one of the very finest trial lawyers I have ever hired. Jim is world-class in every sense and has handled our litigation counsel needs for everything from complex intellectual property cases, breach of contract claims, employment matters, and beyond. His ability to advocate for his client in the complex world of Waco federal court to the everyday battle in the McLennan County state courts is second to none. If you are looking for a litigation counsel here in the Western District of Texas, search no further, Jim is your man!”
-Grayson Brown, Executive Vice President, General Counsel & Secretary of Neighborly (the world’s largest home services franchisor with over 3,700 franchisees and $2B+ in system sales).
If you are looking for local counsel in Waco, contact us. Dunnam & Dunnam has tried hundreds of cases in Waco courts for almost 100 years. Our reputation is why clients choose us for some of the most high-profile Waco federal litigation—including matters involving the Branch Davidians and the Baylor University scandal. When someone has a big case in Waco, they rely on Dunnam & Dunnam.
Our lawyers were the first to have a bench trial before Judge Albright. In that intellectual property case, we secured a multi-million-dollar judgment for our client and a take-nothing verdict on the counterclaims against them. Our clients were delighted.
Dunnam & Dunnam has produced a Waco federal district court judge, a Texas Supreme Court Justice, a state district court judge, and three members of the Texas Legislature. We are in front of the Waco federal or state judges weekly. It is a law firm that the judges trust. And the Waco juries know us. Wacoan Magazine routinely selects us as the best law firm in Waco. Hire us when the stakes are high.
Andrea Michelle Mehta
Andrea's practice focuses primarily in Appellate Law, Civil Trial Law, Family Law, and General Law.Read More
Jim Dunnam is a Board Certified Specialist in both Civil Trial Law and Family Law.Read More
Eleeza's practice areas include: Personal Injury Law, Civil Trial Law, Commercial Law, Family Law and Pharmaceutical Law.Read More
Gerald R. Villarrial
Gerald R. Villarrial has practiced family law, criminal law and civil litigation for over 20 years.Read More
Mason Dunnam is the fourth generation of Dunnam attorneys at the firm since 1925Read More