No matter how careful a business is with its proprietary knowledge and processes, in order to function, it will eventually have to share its trade secrets with employees and managers. As a Houston, TX corporate law and commercial litigation attorney, Mahendru, PC frequently represents companies that have been negatively impacted by patent and copyright infringements, violations of non-compete covenants, and breaches of non-disclosure agreements. While these tools are important weapons in a company’s economic security, they are only effective if the transgression is caught before extensive damage has been done.
When a business develops a truly innovative and original process, chances are excellent that competitors will take notice. Sometimes, they will even go so far as to engage in the illegal activity of corporate espionage.
The threat of corporate espionage can manifest itself in a number of ways. A competitor might approach one of the employees and make an offer to buy the trade secrets for money or a better job with their own firm. They might also attempt to plant someone who is loyal to their company inside your business operation. They may even try to hack the computer system or physically steal trash. The good news for Texas corporations, as well as other business enterprises around the country, is that all of these activities are illegal.
The Economic Espionage Act of 1996 is a federal law that makes trade secret theft a violation of federal law. The Economic Espionage Act:
- Makes the theft of trade secrets a federal crime.
- Possesses an all-encompassing definition of misappropriation to include theft, copying, recording, verbal communication, and a number of other methods that can be used to convey information from one party to another.
- Makes it a crime to receive information that the recipient knows or should have known was stolen.
- The Act gives the federal government the ability to pursue cases on a state, interstate, or international level.
In order for a business to be considered a victim of an Economic Espionage Act violation, it is necessary to show that A) reasonable measures to protect the secrecy of the information (i.e. non-compete covenants, non-disclosure agreements), and B)that the trade secret derives actual independent value or increased value from not being known.
Although these cases are filed with and prosecuted by the federal government, it’s almost always advisable for victims of Economic Espionage Act violations to retain the services of a reliable corporate law attorney who is familiar with trade secret violations.
Mahendru, PC understands that speed and evasive action in these types of cases is absolutely vital. Litigation may challenge your bottom line, but theft of your trade secrets may challenge your company’s existence. Contact or call the firm toll free at 866-558-8149 or 713-391-8247 should somone even hint at stealing your competitive advantage away from you and find out how Mahendru, PC has protected trade secrets for other clients.