On January 28, 2016, the Senate Judiciary Committee approved the Defend Trade Secrets Act. If the bill is made into law, it would create a cause of action in federal court for theft of trade secrets.
Most recent changes to the bill included issues relating to employee mobility, the statute of limitations, restrictions on seizure orders, and enhanced damages. The Committee adopted language that provides immunity for whistleblowers to protect employees or others from potential trade secret claims if they present information confidentially to relevant government officials or agencies in connection with a violation of law. The bill, S. 1890, now moves to the full Senate for consideration.
What is the take away here? If a federal trade secrets bill is passed, qualifying companies and individuals can use the federal court system to bring theft of trade secret actions or other trade secret causes of action against an alleged party. In addition, the federal trade secrets law, where applicable, would provide a unified and harmonized body of law where each of the 50 states has full authority in this area of law at present and not all of the states’ laws on trade secret matters are unified.
In addition, there are an increasing number of trade secret cases where the defendant is a foreign individual or entity. The federal laws in this matter would aid in bringing these parties into court and having greater strength to administer the court’s punishment. Finally, because federal courts presently handle all other aspects of intellectual property law: patents, trademarks and copyright, it is appreciated that the federal judiciary may be better equipped to handle trade secret cases as well. We will continue to keep an eye on this subject.
Protecting your innovative developments is critical to any organization. Having the right person to help you make those decisions is important. The Law Office of Kathleen Lynch PLLC is designed to help businesses such as yours keep ahead of the game. The first telephone consultation is free. Email us at firstname.lastname@example.org.