Patent and Trade Secret Legislation Updates

There are a number of patent and trade secret related bills pending in Congress. Here are a few updates:

INNOVATION ACT: Rep. Goodlatte’s Innovation Act (H.R. 9) proposes a set of changes to our “patent-enforcement system.”  A newly released 200-page report from the Judiciary Committee explains the proposed legislation and its purposes.  The report also includes dissenting views from a group of seven Democratic members who argue that the proposal goes too far in diminishing patent rights. That said, the dissenters agree that “Congress must respond to the problems of abusive patent litigation in the courts and the gaming of the patent process at the USPTO.” [LINK].

In July, the Defend Trade Secrets Act of 2015 was introduced in both the House and Senate.  The proposal would create a federal civil cause of action for trade secret misappropriation that would run in parallel to the state causes of action already available. [DTSA2015][Dave Levine explains his Opposition]

The Innovation Promotion Act of 2015 is a tax-bill that would cut the corporate income tax rate on profits from the use of innovations and intellectual property.(Down to 10% from ~30%). The amount of qualifying profits is reduced by the percent of corporate expenses from the past five years spent on U.S. R&D.  The way that the bill is designed is that it basically serves as an additional incentive to conduct R&D within the U.S.  R&D activities are already deductible as business expenses, but the proposal here would allow those to be double-counted (more particularly, counted 1.71 times).



2 thoughts on “Patent and Trade Secret Legislation Updates

  1. 1

    California has a strong public policy against restraints on employees changing jobs and going to work for competitors. Outside of California, employers often use the “inevitable disclosure doctrine” to prevent an employee with knowledge of trade secrets from working for a competitor for a period of time without having to prove any actual disclosure of any trade secret. The doctrine operates the ice the employee.

    Federalizing trade secret law is a blatant attempt to override California public policy and to impose upon California the inevitable disclosure doctrine. Perhaps Congress has a power to do this, perhaps not, but we all must see and appreciate what is going on here to understand that companies outside of California are trying to impose upon California their own ideas regarding the ability of employees to go to work for competitors.

    1. 1.1

      Didn’t the silicone valley giants get in trouble for this very thing…?

      Not sure if you can push this off as an “outside of California” thing. That seems a bit Micky Mouse to me.

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