The proliferation of technology has made it increasingly more difficult for firms to protect their trade secrets. Domestic and global competitors alike are often able to reverse-engineer computer codes and other intellectual property in order to develop rival products. This can lead to international business disputes and the need to pursue legal action.
At Texas firm suing an international competitor on several grounds including breach of contract and copyright infringement recently experienced a few setbacks during the summary judgment portion of its civil trial. A federal court ruled that some of the company’s claims against a global competitor, including breach of contract, were to be dropped. The Texas company can still proceed with its case against the other firm for unfair competition, misappropriation of trade secret and common law misappropriation. It is also possible that the Texas company could appeal the summary judgment. The case dates back to 2003 when the two companies entered into a technology license agreement granting the global company the right use the Texas company’s confidential technology to select third parties in exchange for monetary compensation. According to the agreement, both copying and reverse-engineering the code was strictly prohibited. The Texas company claims that its rival firm breached this contract in 2008 when it provided services to a third-party that was not approved. The company also claims that the code was reversed and reproduced.
This case is just one example of the many business disputes presented in the court system today. Businesses large or small that believe their intellectual property or trade secrets have been stolen or misappropriated should consult with an attorney. Trade secrets are not just limited to technological products or services. It is a broad term that can encompass consumer profiles, advertising strategies and manufacturing processes to name just a few.
Source: Business Standard, “Infosys gets partial relief in Versata lawsuit,” Itika Sharma Punit, Sep. 20, 2013.