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Proof of a Misappropriation of Trade Secrets Claim

Feb 23, 2013

What must a plaintiff prove to establish a claim for misappropriation of trade secrets?

To establish a claim for misappropriation of trade secrets, a plaintiff is required to establish (1) a trade secret existed; (2) the trade secret was acquired through a breach of a confidential relationship or was discovered by improper means; (3) the defendant used the trade secret without the plaintiff’s authorization; and (4) the plaintiff suffered damages as a result. See Tex. Integrated Conveyor Sys., Inc. v. Innovative Conveyor Concepts, Inc., 300 S.W.3d 348, 366-67 (Tex. App. – Dallas 2009, pet. denied). A person is liable for disclosure of a trade secret if he either (1) discovers the secret through improper means or (2) his disclosure and use, after properly acquiring knowledge of the secret, constitutes a breach of the confidence reposed to him. Hyde Corp. v. Huffines, 158 Tex. 566, 314 S.W.2d 763, 778 (Tex. 1958). “Use of the trade secret” means commercial use by which the offending party seeks to profit from the use of the secret. See Global Water Group, Inc. v. Atchley, 244 S.W.3d 924, 928 (Tex. App. – Dallas 2008, pet. denied).

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