1400 Gables Ct #103 Plano, TX 75075
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Federal Passage of Defend Trade Secrets Act: A Victory for Intellectual Property?

On April 5th,  the United States Senate passed the Defend Trade Secrets Act—a bipartisan bill co-authored by Senators Orrin Hatch (R-UT) and Chris Coons (D-DE) that its sponsors claimed will save the American economy billions of dollars each year by combating trade secret theft. In an unusually harmonious vote, the Senate passed the measure by a vote of 87-0. What makes the legislation unique is that it is the first-ever attempt to provide a remedy for trade secret theft in federal court. Up until now, trade secret theft or misappropriation was decided on a state by state basis, depending on whether the st state in question had adopted its own statute, the Uniform Trade Secrets Act, or relied upon common law (case law). As you know from our previous blogs on the topic, Texas passed the Texas Uniform Trade Secrets Act (adopting the Uniform Trade Secrets Act) in 2013.

According to a press release on Senator Oren Hatch’s website, the bill is expected to pass the House of Representatives and be signed into law by President Obama in the coming weeks. Time will tell. This writer has not analyzed the new Act, but will attempt to do so after more information is in on any changes the House of Representatives may make.

For now, though, it is enough to acknowledge that, where federal jurisdiction is present, which usually means interstate or overseas commerce is effected, a company may choose to enforce its trade secret intellectual property rights in federal, as well as state, court. Which it decides upon will depend on the facts of each case and which remedies it considers to be stronger—something he will decide upon in consultation with his Intellectual Property and/or litigation counsel.

Stay tuned, as we inform you of further developments on this important legislation.

Richard Armstrong, Principal

Richard Armstrong, Principal

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1400 Gables Ct #103
Plano, TX 75075

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