The crime the OP is looking for is “Misappropriation of a Trade Secret.” Trade Secrets are a form of intellectual property governed by state law, not federal law as for patents, copyrights and trademarks. Google the Uniform Trade Secrets Act for more information. Even in the few states where the UTSA has not been adopted, such as Texas, there generally exists some form of trade secret protection, see for example “Texas theft of trade secrets overview”.
The crime here is misappropriating the trade secret. And it can be an actual crime, not just a civil injury. In Texas, the relevant statute is Texas Penal Code section 31.05, which is a 3rd degree felony if violated.
What’s misappropriation? Look to the relevant state statute and case law. From the UTSA with 1985 amendments I found here, misappropriation means:
*(i) acquisition of a trade secret of another by a person who knows or has reason to know that the trade secret was acquired by improper means; or
(ii) disclosure or use of a trade secret of another without express or implied consent by a person who
(A) used improper means to acquire knowledge of the trade secret; or
(B) at the time of disclosure or use, knew or had reason to know that his knowledge of the trade secret was
(I) derived from or through a person who had utilized improper means to acquire it;
(II) acquired under circumstances giving rise to a duty to maintain its secrecy or limit its use; or
(III) derived from or through a person who owed a duty to the person seeking relief to maintain its secrecy or limit its use; or
© before a material change of his [or her] position, knew or had reason to know that it was a trade secret and that knowledge of it had been acquired by accident or mistake.
“Improper means” is a term of art including the following acts: “theft, bribery, misrepresentation, breach or inducement of a breach of a duty to maintain secrecy, or espionage through electronic or other means.” Other acts may constitute improper means too.
Usually, independent discovery of the trade secret, whether through reverse engineering or just coming up with it on your own, is by itself, not misappropriation. However, was the discovery truly independent of information acquired from the trade secret holder? Or was the discovery assisted by information misappropriated from the holder? What little I remember from the trade secret class I took awhile ago is that these cases can be quite fact-specific.
I am certainly not an attorney, you aren’t my client, and this isn’t legal advice.
As always, it’s best to contact a local attorney, in this case one specializing in trade secret law and unfair competition law, if you think you may be involved in a situation such as this and have further questions.