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Trade Secret Misappropriation

In trade secret litigation it is a little known fact that a company can recover damages for trade secret misappropriation even if the party who took the trade secrets didn't profit from them. A defendant's lack of profits does not preclude the defendant's obligation to pay for what it misappropriated. University Computing Company v. Lykes-Youngstown Corporation, 504 F.2d 518, 536 (5th Cir. 1974). Trade secret misappropriate/theft damages can include, a plaintiff's lost profits, a reasonable royalty, costs of research and development and/or the fair market value of the misappropriated trade secret. University Computing Company v. Lykes-Youngstown Corporation, 504 F.2d 518, 536, 540 (5th Cir. 1974); Elcor Chem. Corp. v. Agri-Sul, Inc., 494 S.W.2d 204, 214 (Tex. App. - Dallas 1973, writ ref'd n.r.e.); Precision Plating & Metal Finishing Inc. v. Martin Marietta Corp., 435 F.2d 1262 (5th Cir. 1970), cert. denied, 405 U.S. 948 (1972). Another remedy that a trade secret misappropriation attorney may pursue is injunctive relief - an order from the court which prohibits some action/preserves the status quo. Injunctive relief can include but is not limited to, ordering a party to stop using the trade secrets, stopping work on a product or service that incorporates the trade secrets and/or ordering the party to preserve the confidential nature of the trade secrets, among others. Depending on how the injunctive relief is worded could severely impact a defendant's business if that defendant is found to have misappropriated a party's trade secrets. Trade secret cases require a "flexible and imaginative approach to the problem of damages . . ." University Computing Company v. Lykes-Youngstown Corporation, 504 F.2d 518 (5th Cir. 1974). There are many avenues and remedies that a court could order upon a finding that a defendant has misappropriated a party's trade secrets.

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