Cybercrimes are a growing problem in the United States. Hackers aren’t just stealing personal information, however. They are also stealing corporate information including intellectual property and trade secrets. Both the Federal and State government have taken more executive and legislative action during the past year to protect companies from the theft of trade secrets.
For instance, the Uniform Trade Secrets Act, which was passed in Texas during 2013, includes beneficial changes to the law for technology companies suing for theft of trade secrets. The likelihood of winning a lawsuit against a competitor or formal employee for trade secret theft is much greater now. The law also contains a provision that allows for enhanced damages and the restitution for legal fees. Still, businesses in Texas need to be proactive and take the necessary steps to protect themselves. With the proliferation of technology, the risk of theft is much greater. Employers are advised to specifically address the use of technology—including but not limited to cloud computing, mobile devices, social media and telecommuting—in employee handbooks and employment agreements. Patent laws also changed during 2013. Instead of granting patents on based on the invention date, they are now being granted according to the filing date. This means that companies should file patents as soon as possible to protect their intellectual property.
Companies large and small can benefit from speaking with an attorney regarding the best ways to protect themselves from the theft of corporate information. In the event that a current or former employee breaks a confidentiality agreement and divulges trade secrets an attorney who specializes in commercial law can help you pursue legal action.
Source: Dallas Business Journal, “How to protect your firm’s patents, trade secrets in 2014,” Bill Hethcock, Dec. 31, 2014