Protecting company secrets is a big business these days. Those who sell secrets may be in hot water legally.
“There likely isn’t one business or industry that doesn’t have secrets about how they do business and about their products that they don’t want spread all over the place. After all if you are in business and want to stay a leader, you want to protect your products, methods, techniques and inventions from your competition and the public at large,” outlined Seth Wilburn, of the Gomez Law Group, a Dallas employment lawyer and Dallas business lawyer.
The fact is that many companies go through unbelievable contortions to protect their trade secrets and have been known to take legal action against people who have sold those secrets (on purpose) or accidently gave away critical information about how business is conducted. Stealing trade secrets is definitely classified as unfair competition; a slap in the face of the ‘usual’ way business is to be done in the marketplace.
“It’s generally accepted in the marketplace that businesses competing for the same customers are expected to use fair assessment of the market, their product, and assess the buying trends of customers; not lie, cheat, steal, manipulate and resort to spying to get what they want,” added Wilburn. “In fact, the Uniform Trade Secrets Act was created to offer protection against getting ahold of formulas, devices, methods, product secrets and techniques, and other business assets by improper methods – meaning stealing,” he explained.
The Act outlines several things that are considered to be “improper” and they include, electronic spying, or spying by any other means, breach of duty, misrepresentation, bribery, theft and inducement of a breach of duty. Those definitions are intentionally broad, as stealing company secrets can take place in many, sometimes bizarre ways.
It goes without saying that if the person who sells the “secrets” they stole and makes money from that transaction, then it is definitely unfair competition. Under the Act there is a section on punishment if the benefit the thief derived was actual cash or the potential to make money.
Here is another thing that not too many people realize: infringing on a secret may also have punitive damages assigned, including financial damages, royalties and shared profits. The court may also grant an injunction forcing a firm to stop selling anything they got or created as the result of stolen trade secrets,” Wilburn explained. Additionally, recoverable damages may also include loss of revenue as a result of the theft of secrets and come with penalties for the person being unjustly enriched because they stole something.
“This is an interesting area of the law, and if you have had trade secrets purloined from your company, you may want to find out what your rights are and what can be done to protect your company from the resulting loss,” added Seth Wilburn, of the Gomez Law Group, a Dallas employment lawyer and Dallas business lawyer.
Gomez Law Group is a Dallas employment lawyer and Dallas business lawyer. To learn more, visit “http://www.gomezlawyers.com“