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Trade Secrets & Unfair Competition

Many of our clients derive a competitive advantage from their confidential information. At Vinson & Elkins, our Trade Secrets & Unfair Competition practice helps protect that advantage in large and small projects by drafting confidentiality agreements, guiding clients through counseling and negotiation, and, when necessary, pursuing claims of trade secret misappropriation. V&E’s Trade Secrets & Unfair Competition lawyers also know how to defend these claims when they are made against our clients. Our team also helps navigate closely related issues involving employment and consulting agreements, and covenants not to compete.

V&E lawyers have handled trade secrets cases in a variety of contexts — including cases involving computer software, customer information, equipment, pricing and financial information, drawings and specifications, and methods of doing business — in a variety of industries, such as computer hardware and software, oilfield services, oilfield exploration and production, and computer consulting and outsourcing services.

We leverage our experience to help resolve disputes when they arise, whether by licensing or otherwise. However, when our clients cannot get a satisfactory resolution short of litigation, our lawyers have the experience and depth necessary to resolve the case at the courthouse. We have experience in all aspects of trade secrets and non-compete cases, including obtaining temporary restraining orders, and preliminary and permanent injunctions, and we understand the need for quick action.

Experience Highlights

  • (AAA Arbitration) — Served as lead trial counsel in the representation of a company involved in the development of ground-breaking silicon polymer chemistry; obtained a finding of trade secrets misappropriation; sought monetary and injunctive relief

  • (S.D. Tex.) — Defended a software company against claims of copyright infringement and misappropriation of trade secrets in connection with software products for sharing project files and information in the energy industry; we mediated the case and were able to negotiate a structured settlement

  • (S.D. Tex.) — Represented an oilfield services company in trade secret, breach of contract, and false advertisement suit

  • (N.D. Tex.); (Fed.Cir.) — Obtained a complete victory for a client accused of patent infringement and misappropriation of trade secrets in connection with computer software and methods for horizontal drilling of oil and gas wells; after obtaining a summary judgment on the trade secrets claim, V&E tried the case and obtained a judgment for our client; we obtained an affirmance of the judgment on appeal 

  • (S.D. Tex.) — Defended an oilfield equipment company against claims of trademark infringement and false advertising; after defeating summary judgment motions and successfully reviving trade secrets counterclaims against the plaintiff, we settled the case on favorable terms

  • (Tex. Dist. − Fort Bend Cnty.) — Successfully pursued trade secrets claims for a software company against former employees; injunctive relief

  • (AAA Arbitration − Utah) — Represented a valve manufacturer in arbitration of trade secret case; obtained agreed injunction after arbitration hearing on the merits

  • (Tex. Dist. − Harris Cnty.); (Tex. App. − Houston [1st. Dist.]) — Represented an insurance brokerage company in an employee raiding/non-solicitation of customers and employees suit against competitor and four former employees; obtained temporary injunction regarding non-solicitation of customers and employees which was affirmed in published opinion as to all but one former employee on appeal

  • (Tex. Dist. − Harris Cnty.) — Represented a major oil field chemical company in a covenant not to compete dispute involving hiring of nine employees brought by a competitor; obtained ruling that covenants not to compete were invalid under Texas law; remainder of case subsequently settled

  • (Tex. Dist. − Harris Cnty.); (Tex. App. − Houston [14th Dist.]) — Represented a major oil company in trade secrets dispute involving drilling rig technology; case dismissed based on forum selection clause; case affirmed on appeal