Dallas non-compete attorney Keith Clouse reports – Houston Court Rules in Trade Secret Misappropriation Claim

An appellate court in Houston ruled for a former employee in a trade secret misappropriation case.  Gen. Insulation Co. v. King, No. 14-08-00633-CV (Tex. App.—Houston [14th Dist.] Jan. 26, 2010, no pet. h.), available at http://www.14thcoa.courts.state.tx.us/opinions/htmlopinion.asp?OpinionId=86517.An employer sued a former employee for misappropriation of trade secrets and breach of an agreement not to use or disclose confidential information.  The trial court granted summary judgment for the employee.

The appellate court affirmed.  First, the employee presented uncontroverted testimony that he obtained customer-related information from sources other than his former employer.  Second, the pricing information could not be considered a trade secret upon analysis of the following factors: (1) extent to which persons outside the business know the information; (2) extent to which employees and others within the business know it; (3) extent of measures the business took to guard the secrecy of the information; (4) value of the information to the business and its competitors; (5) amount of effort or money expended to develop the information; and (6) ease or difficulty with which the information could be properly acquired or duplicated by others.  Thus, the Court affirmed summary judgment.

To speak to a non-compete attorney who routinely handles misappropriation of trade secret cases, please contact Keith Clouse and the employment lawyers at Clouse Dunn Khoshbin LLP at [email protected]

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