Trade Secrets That Aren’t So Secret – Now Under Federal Jurisdiction.

Businesses Now Armed with Potent Legal Tools to Protect Against and Secure Injunctive Relief and Damages Against Theft of Intellectual Property.

In a recent article by Michael P. Broadhurst, Kevin M. Passerini and Leigh Ann Buziak at the Legal Intelligencer, they write that the president has recently signed the Defend Trade Secrets Act of 2016 (DTSA) vesting the federal courts with jurisdiction over misappropriation of trade secrets. What does this mean? Trade secrets are now on the same level with patents, trademarks, and copyrights, arming private litigants with potent legal tools to secure injunctive relief and damages, protect against actual or threatened trade secret misappropriation, and authorize ex parte seizures to prevent the dissemination of trade secrets under “extraordinary circumstances.”

The act recognizes the growing importance of trade secrets, arguably the most fundamental form of intellectual property, to the U.S. economy. The DTSA provides plaintiffs with a uniform structure for discovery, broadening the definitions of “misappropriation” and “improper means.” Remedies are now available in the form of damages for actual loss, unjust enrichment, and reasonable royalties. Employers should take note of the confidentiality and nondisclosure agreement requirements in order to take advantage of some of the remedies under the statute.

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