Locke Lord QuickStudy: Federal Trade Secrets Act Signed Into Law

Locke Lord LLP
May 11, 2016

Today President Obama signed the Defend Trade Secrets Act of 2016 into law, changing the jurisdictional landscape for trade secrets litigation and creating new remedies for companies aggrieved by the theft or misappropriation of their valuable trade secrets.  As noted in our previous report on this legislation, the Act creates a new and parallel jurisdictional option in Federal courts around the country for claims of misappropriation of trade secrets, as long as the products or services at issue are “used in, or intended for use in, interstate or foreign commerce.”  The Act does not preempt preexisting state law on trade secrets, including the Uniform Trade Secrets Act, which exists in most states.  Rather, the new Act simply creates an alternative forum in Federal court for claims of misappropriation, leaving litigants with important options to weigh on a case-by-case basis. 

The Act also creates a new civil seizure remedy, which can be obtained ex parte in certain extraordinary cases, and creates whistleblower protection for individuals who report the substance of otherwise protected trade secret information to government officials, in confidence, in connection with suspected violations of law.

We are prepared to assist clients seeking protection of their trade secrets in assessing the new jurisdictional options and remedies available to them under the Act.”