by Dennis Crouch
Defend Trade Secrets Act: The House Judiciary Committee is moving forward with the Defend Trade Secrets Act (DTSA) with a discussion of the bill (H.R. 3326) and its Senate companion (S. 1890) that was unanimously passed by the U.S. Senate. The House and Senate versions were originally identical, but a set of amendments were added to the Senate version before its passage that both improved the language and reduced some potential negative impact of injunctive-relief associated with employee mobility. [See Pooley]. There is a strong possibility that the Senate version will be accepted by the House and passed with overwhelming majority. Rep. Goodlatte (R-VA) is pushing the Bill through the Judiciary Committee (of which he is Chair). Ranking Member Conyers (D-MI) is one of 155 co-sponsors of the legislation. The Intellectual Property Owners Association (IPO) has announced its “strong support” for the bill.
Nationalizing Contract Law?: It is interesting that congress is moving forward so quickly with nationalizing the traditional state-law claim of trade secret misappropriation. Most trade secret cases involve an underlying breach of contract between the parties. The current bill would implicitly have courts rely upon local contract law to determine the scope of rights of the parties before then determining whether a federal claim of trade secret misappropriation exists.