Trade Secret Litigation in Federal Court

LexMachina has released a new report on Trade Secret litigation in Federal Court.

The basics: Federal Trade Secret litigation is up about 30% following enactment of the Defend Trade Secrets Act (DTSA) in 2016.  (1134 cases filed in 2017). The DTSA created a federal cause of action for trade secret litigation and resulting original jurisdiction in federal court for the federal claims. Prior to the DTSA, state-law trade secret claims found their way into federal court either via supplemental jurisdiction (typically linked to an a federal IP claim) or via diversity jurisdiction (parties from different states).

The vast majority of trade secret actions include additional causes of action — most often breach of contract or other commercial law claim.

[Report here – Registration Required]

19 thoughts on “Trade Secret Litigation in Federal Court

  1. 3

    It still escapes me why a plaintiff would want to use the DTSA, as opposed to just asserting a claim under the Uniform Trade Secrets Act adopted by its state. Most civil plaintiff lawyers will you that, in virtually every state, federal courts are more “defense-friendly” than state courts; they’re more likely to dig into the merits and grant summary judgment, limit discovery, toss expert opinions under Daubert, etc. That’s why big business lobbied so hard for Congress to pass laws moving more civil actions (like substantially all class actions) into federal court.

    The only time I’d assert something under the DTSA is if the case was already forced into federal court anyway. Otherwise, you give up a potentially more favorable state court forum.

    1. 3.1

      I think that you answered your own question:

      That’s why big business lobbied so hard for Congress to pass laws moving more civil actions (like substantially all class actions) into federal court.

  2. 2

    The reason companies want trade secrets is to control their employees.

    Techdirt people–self destructive. I note too that none of them will actually debate me on this issue. Makes me think they aren’t real.

    1. 2.1

      Oh, they are real alright – just as real as lemmings that march up a hill and over the hill’s cliff edge.

      That is not to say that a ton of what one may read is not pure propaganda, but there is no doubt that what can be read includes the mouthings of those that have bought into that propaganda (and these mouthings come from real people).

      1. 2.1.1

        Notice that MM does not address the substance, but just name calls and says ridiculous things.


          …as usual.

          13 and 1/2 years at this point.

          His “book” of short monologuing scripts should be really easy to “write.”

    2. 2.2

      none of them will actually debate me on this issue

      Which proves you must be correct!

      Yes, folks, he’s actually serious. Well, as serious as a br@inde@d sycophant can be.

      1. 2.2.1

        Your choice of the word sycophant portrays those whom Night Writer is talking about – in your odd way, this is simply one of the tells of your Accuse Others meme.

        It really is not as clever as you may think it to be.


          those whom Night Writer is talking about

          You seem to be missing the bit about Night Wiper being one of the most clueless pieces of shirt on the planet.

          Or maybe you’re ready to high five him again for comparing people who think software patents are less than awesome with “terr0rists in Iraq.”

          I told you I’d never forget any of that, Billy. And I won’t. The book will be written eventually and you’ll be in it. Dennis, too, of course.


          Maybe it’s time for one of those so-effective “let’s have a better ec(h)osystem articles…

          After all, actually enforcing the rules (evenly and objectively) and having editorial policies that encourage full dialogue (instead of drive-by monologues) should be easy as throwing a few pizzas at the college crowd hanging out at the coffee shop this weekend.

    1. 1.1

      I think you can expect it if/when such trolls arise. At first blush, it seems harder to game trade secret law than patent law, but I am sure there are people smarter than I trying to figure out how to turn a quick buck.

      1. 1.1.1

        Methinks you are one that does not understand the limitation of the existing “patent Tr011” mantra…

        You are aware, of course, how that mantra is a piece of anti-patent propaganda, yes?


          Just as I am aware that the “There are no patent trolls” mantra is a piece of patent-maximalist propaganda.


            It is not – and never has been – a matter of “there are no Tr011s,” so your “maximalist” assertion rests on a fallacy.

            See the writings of Ron Katznelson that have totally debunked the “patent Tr011 mantra” without engaging in your fallacy.

            The “Accuse Others” gambit fails for Malcom. Why would you expect it to work for what you attempt here?


              your “maximalist” assertion rests on a fallacy.

              See the writings of Ron Katznelson

              Oh my goodness the patent crack going around the block is especially strong this week. Watch out, kids.


                mindless ad hominem with adding nothing of substance….

                Yay 13 and a half years of this blight named Malcolm.

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