It’s No Secret: HBC Obtains Complete Denial of Application for Temporary Injunction in Trade Secret Case

Harper Bates & Champion partner Austin Champion and associate Ben Jones recently obtained a complete denial of an application for temporary injunction in a trade secret case involving two pool and outdoor living construction competitors.

During a full day evidentiary hearing on the plaintiff's application for injunctive relief, Champion asked the plaintiff how his client obtained the alleged trade secrets. The plaintiff responded, “I gave it to him.” In a brief filed with the court, Champion and Jones argued the plaintiff's admission was fatal and that their clients could not be enjoined from using information and materials that their clients freely received from the plaintiff without any expectation of secrecy – especially without any evidence that their clients were actually using the information. The Tarrant County District Court agreed and denied the plaintiff's application for injunctive relief.

The plaintiff filed its lawsuit after the firm's clients left their employment with the plaintiff and started a competing business. In their application for injunctive relief, the plaintiff effectively sought to prevent the firm's clients from competing in the marketplace.

Under the Texas Uniform Trade Secret Act, the elements of a claim for trade secret misappropriation are: (1) a trade secret existed; (2) the trade secret was acquired through a breach of confidential relationship or was discovered by improper means; and (3) the defendants used the trade secret without the plaintiff’s authorization.