DTSA Moving Forward

The House Judiciary Committee has taken the next major step toward implementation of the Defend Trade Secrets Act of 2016 (DTSA).  In an unopposed voice vote the committee has approved the text of the already-passed Senate version (S.1890). DTSA would create a federal civil remedy for trade secret misappropriation.  Next step – is passage by the full House. President Obama has indicated his support as well.

From the committee:

Trade secrets are an increasingly important form of intellectual property that have become more vulnerable to theft as a result of our globalized economy. While current federal law protects other forms of intellectual property by providing access to federal courts for aggrieved parties to seek redress, there is no federal option to do so for trade secret theft. The bipartisan Defend Trade Secrets Act seeks to change that by allowing companies to seek civil penalties in order to protect their businesses from those engaging in economic espionage. S. 1890 gives American innovators a powerful new tool which will help them compete in an ever-evolving global market.

At Mizzou, we’re planning our symposium for next academic year that will focus on implementation of the new federal cause of action.

Dennis Crouch

About Dennis Crouch

Law Professor at the University of Missouri School of Law. Co-director of the Center for Intellectual Property and Entrepreneurship.

5 thoughts on “DTSA Moving Forward

  1. Well, another aspect of state sovereignty bites the dust. Is there any state authority which is not ripe for nationalization? Perhaps we should nationalize all contract law, to give contracting parties (i.e., Google, Apple, Microsoft et al.) a “powerful new tool”. Perhaps we should nationalize criminal law to give victims (i.e., Google, Apple, Microsoft et al.) a “powerful new tool”.

    Hell, let’s just nationalize everything. There is nothing that the states are doing that the feds can’t do better, right?

    Of course, these “powerful new tools” won’t completely displace existing state laws (although that will be the effect). The states have to feel as though they have at least some power, after all.

    Let’s stop pretending. Federalism is dead. The states have become little more than administrative agencies of the federal government.

  2. Irresponsible to pass this bill without analyzing how it could be used with high-tech workers, e.g., Google employees in CA.

  3. I am puzzled why global conditions have anything to do with it, when AFAIK the only other country with this type of of law is Switzerland. OTOH, if you didn’t know that then it sounds plausible!

  4. Does the statute have a definition of “trade secret,” or is that subject to the law of the states?

    Is prior art relevant to a patent being actively licensed a trade secret? Such prior art is often disclosed in litigation as confidential information. Is this right? Can a patent owner legitimately agree not to disclose such prior art to the PTO or through an NDA?

    Are the passwords from my user trade secrets. I know they are confidential — but they are confidential because of obligations to the users.

    Just some thoughts.

    Most litigation is about customer and customer data, and about manufacturing secrets. I wouldn’t call everything that is confidential a trade secret though.

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