Although it is a good practice for employers to require their employees to sign confidentiality agreements covering trade secrets, failure to do so is not fatal to a theft of trade secrets claim.  This is because Texas law places a duty on employees not to use trade secret information acquired during the employment relationship.  No written confidentiality contract is required.  This duty survives termination of the employment relationship.

Do not assume employees are free to use their employer’s trade secrets just because there is no signed confidentiality agreement.

Here are two cases applying this rule of law: Lamont v. Vaquillas Energy Lopeno, Ltd., 421 S.W.3d 198, 211 (Tex. App.—San Antonio 2013, review denied); Reliant Hospital Partners, LLC v. Cornerstone Healthcare Group Holdings, Inc., 374 S.W.3d 488, 499 (Tex. App.—Dallas 2012, review denied).

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