Another Attempt at a Federal Trade Secrets Law

by: Kelly A. Williams, a shareholder at Picadio Sneath Miller & Norton, P.C.

US Capitol BuildingA bill was introduced on Wednesday, July 29, 2015, in the U.S. Senate and House of Representatives by a bipartisan group of senators and representatives that would allow a private right of action for misappropriation of trade secrets under federal law.  Currently, federal law only provides criminal relief for the theft of trade secrets and civil relief is left to the laws of each state.  This is not the first time that Congress has tried to pass such a law.  An attempt approximately one year ago failed.  The current bill is title “Defend Trade Secrets Act,” and it would be enacted under the Economic Espionage Act of 1996.  Business groups such as the U.S. Chamber of Commerce and dozens of corporations, including IBM, Boeing, General Electric and Nike, support the bill.  Trade secrets and the protection of trade secrets are becoming increasingly important as the laws governing patent protection are changing and narrowing.  Let’s see if the government gets it done this time.

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