Unfair Competition & Trade Secrets
As technology grows and changes, so does employer susceptibility to unfair competition or trade secret theft. Whether several employees leave for a competitor or to set up shop in the same market or a rainmaker threatens to leave with a significant book of business, having the proper protections in place can significantly reduce fallout from these departures and increase the chance of success if litigation is necessary. On the other hand, businesses accused of developing or deriving their services or methods from unlawfully obtained competitor information will have to devote significant resources to the defense of such claims—resources that can no longer be dedicated to business growth.
Unfortunately, the practice of taking information that belongs to a former employer is the rule rather than the exception when employees move to a competitor. It is critical that an employer immediately secure relevant computers, emails, and text messages, and launch an internal investigation into whether the departing employee is engaged in unfair competition. Likewise, when an employer hires a new employee, particularly a high-level employee, it is imperative to review that employee’s previous employment agreements in order to determine the best approach to protecting the new employer against trade secret theft claims by the former employer.
Our labor and employment lawyers are well-versed in all aspects of trade secret and unfair competition matters. Working closely with employers, we draft agreements containing post-employment restrictions tailored to meet individualized needs with a view towards maximizing the likelihood of enforceability. We also counsel employers on how to secure their trade secrets when key employees leave the company. We are well-connected with high-quality computer forensics firms, who are essential to efficiently and effectively investigate whether departing employees have violated relevant laws. When laws are violated, our litigation attorneys zealously protect our clients’ rights and interests.
- Drafting and enforcement of non-compete and sales representative agreements
- Litigating breaches of restrictive covenant agreements
- Pursuing claims for violation or misappropriation of trade
- Counseling employers on protecting proprietary information
- Advising as to best practices for hiring applicants who have non-competes with former employers
- Reviewing and designing corporate trade secret protection programs to maintain confidential information
- Training of employees and executives on proper data-management protocols
- Counseling clients on their IP portfolio management and security
- Drafting and enforcement of employment agreements
- Reviewing and drafting of restrictive covenants, including non-disclosure, non-compete, confidentiality, and non-solicitation agreements
- Conducting investigations into the loss or theft of trade secrets and coordinate expert witnesses
- Representing clients in major litigation involving trade secrets, breach of duty of loyalty, breach of restrictive covenants, unfair competition, and inevitable disclosures
- Creating and successfully implementing non-litigation resolution strategies in regard to allegations of trade secret theft, unfair competition, and unlawful solicitation of clients
- Counseling involving identification and protection of trade secrets and critical confidential information
- Counseling on issues related to the new Federal Defend Trade Secrets Act; Texas’ adoption of the Uniform Trade Secrets Act; the continued viability of the Federal Computer Fraud and Abuse Act; and common law claims such as the breach of fiduciary duty claim
- Advising employers how to best protect trade secrets, maximizing legitimate competitive advantage while decreasing the risk of litigation