Texas law broadly defines unfair competition as an umbrella of wrongs and generally seeks to prevent one party from obtaining an unfair advantage over another party. Examples of unfair competition range from trademark infringement and passing off to economic espionage and trade secret misappropriation. Anyone with employees or confidential information is at risk for unfair competition. Other examples include:
- Unfair competition on the Internet and in cyberspace;
- Common law misappropriation of ideas and business methods;
- Rights of publicity and privacy;
- Unfair competition through trademark infringement;
- Commercial espionage and unfair competition; and
- Employment issues involving trade secrets.
Effective Unfair Competition Attorneys
We offer a wide range of services aimed at preventing unfair competition, including:
Guarding Against Unfair - Non-Disclosure Agreements
Before disclosing any confidential information or trade secrets, a company should first obtain an effective non-disclosure agreement (NDA) from the party receiving the information. While a written agreement may not be necessary to create a binding agreement not to use or disclose confidential information, a written agreement provides several advantages. Our Dallas unfair competition attorneys are experienced in drafting, negotiating, and enforcing non-disclosure agreements (NDAs).
Guarding Against Unfair Competition - Employment, Non-Compete, And Non-Solicitation Agreements
In today’s fluid employment market, employees who learned valuable trade secrets on the job often leave to work for competitors. Texas law protects trade secret owners from misappropriation and unfair competition that could damage the value of their trade secrets. Our unfair competition lawyers help employers prevent potential, existing, and former employees from unfairly competing through misuse of trade secrets. A cornerstone of this protection is an effective employment agreement containing non-compete and non-solicitation agreements.
Guarding Against Unfair Competition - Independent Contractor Agreements
In addition to the risks presented by departing employees, Texas businesses are at risk of independent contractors, joint venture partners, and suppliers improperly gaining access to the company’s confidential information and trade secrets and using and disclosing that information to the company’s detriment. An independent contractor agreement is an effective step toward lessening this risk. Our unfair competition attorneys assist clients with negotiating and preparing independent contractor agreements.
Unfair Competition - Inevitable Disclosure Doctrine
The inevitable disclosure doctrine has been recognized by Texas law to prevent an ex-employee, with knowledge of his former employer’s trade secrets and confidential information, from being put in a position at a future employer where it would be inevitable for the employee to access those trade secrets or that information even unintentionally. This doctrine is aimed at preventing inadvertent disclosure and use by an employee even if the employer has no knowledge that such use or disclosure is or may take place. This extends the protection of trade secrets because Texas law generally requires a third-party misappropriator, like the employer in the above example, to know of the trade secret misappropriation or under the circumstances should have known before the employer can be held vicariously liable for the acts of its employees.
Other Forms of Unfair Competition
Unfair competition is not limited to employees and independent contractors. Texas businesses are at risk of economic espionage by unscrupulous competitors as well as a myriad of wrongs perpetrated over the Internet and in cyberspace. Examples include cybersquatting and squitting, domain name tasting, defamation and business disparagement, and brandsquatting. Klemchuk Kubasta LLP’s trademark attorneys have experience in stopping several types of unfair competition.
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