President Barack Obama signed the Defend Trade Secrets Act (DTSA) into law yesterday, May 11, 2016. As we previously reported, the Senate unanimously passed the bill on April 4, and the House overwhelmingly passed it on April 27. The President has long supported the legislation to bring greater harmonization to trade secrets enforcement, following an extended bipartisan effort to create a new federal system of trade secrets that commenced in 2012.
The DTSA creates a federal civil cause of action – and federal subject matter jurisdiction – for trade secret misappropriation for any act that “occurs on or after the date of the enactment” of the law and that affects interstate or foreign commerce. Plaintiffs now have the opportunity to obtain injunctive relief and monetary damages and, in appropriate matters, ex parte seizures of misappropriated trade secrets.
Meanwhile, the European Union’s Trade Secrets Directive was passed by the European Parliament on April 14, with final approval is expected this month. The Directive aims to standardize trade secrets protection across the European Union and must be implemented in Member States within the next two years.