Yesterday Congress passed federal trade secrets legislation (the “Defend Trade Secrets Act” or “DTSA”) by an overwhelming 410-2 vote.
The Wall Street Journal notes that the DTSA has been called the “most significant expansion” of federal intellectual property law in 70 years (since the Lanham Act was passed in 1946 to provide federal protection to trademarks). House Judiciary Chair Bob Goodlatte said the measure “will help American innovators protect their intellectual property from criminal theft by foreign agents and those engaging in economic espionage.”
The DTSA has already cleared the Senate and will now make its way to the desk of President Obama, who has already voiced his support and indicated that he intends to sign the DTSA into law.
We’ve covered the DTSA through its many twists and turns, here, here, and here (to name a few). For those interested in the legislative sausage-making, we’ve got you covered. Feel free to peruse our full coverage of the push for a federal trade secrets law over the past several years.
But now that a federal trade secrets law is here, what does this mean for your business? In short, it means that the federal courthouse doors are open. Trade secrets owners will now be free to pursue claims for misappropriation in federal court and seek remedies such as a seizure order to recover stolen trade secrets. What remains to be seen, however (and what we’ll cover over the next several years), is how case law will take shape and evolve in response to the DTSA.