COVID-19 continues to change America’s economic and legal landscape, with a tidal wave of economic instability and employee turnover that is higher today than at any period since the Great Depression. In the resulting job-search melee, corporations are rightfully concerned about ex-employees sharing trade secrets and other confidential information with their new or prospective employers. As work-from-home spaces become the new normal, it’s no exaggeration to say the COVID-19 crisis could also spawn a generational trade secret crisis.
Trade secret litigation is already booming in federal courts. And Texas leads the pack, with such cases increasing threefold. Stout’s Trends in Trade Secret Litigation Report 2020 shows that Texas alone now accounts for 20% of America’s entire trade secret docket. The U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Texas and the Northern District of Illinois are neck-and-neck on total court decisions (7.8% each); however, Stout’s reports that, as of 2019, 22% of all trade secret cases now arise in the industrial sector. Texas is poised to outpace every other state in 2020, given the state’s massive workforce and fourth-in-the nation ranking for manufacturing alone.
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