Trade secret theft and cybersecurity are hot topics in Congress these days, spawning legislative initiatives left and right. Amid this flurry of legislation, it’s hard to keep all the bills straight. Trade Secrets Watch took a look at the legislation currently under review, and put together this primer:
Click here to view table.
What trends can we discern from these bills? Foreign cyber espionage constitutes the target du jour. The current bills aim to attack it from a broad, national perspective (e.g., à la Deter Cyber Theft Act), and on an individual basis (à la the Cyber Economic Espionage Accountability Act). And financial deterrence, in the form of importation bans and freezing of assets, creates the backbone of the proposed civil sanctions.
Still, conspicuously missing from these measures is an effort to harmonize domestic trade secret law under a comprehensive and uniform federal standard. Senator Christopher Coons (D-Del.) co-sponsored the now-defunct Protecting American Trade Secrets and Innovation Act of 2012 (“PATSIA”), which would have provided federal civil jurisdiction for the theft of trade secrets. The bill died with the last Congress, but Coons suggested he will reintroduce the bill during the current congressional session. With intellectual property theft taking the spotlight on Capitol Hill, and with the Administration conducting a review of federal trade secret legislation, PATSIA 2.0, or hopefully a more sweeping federal civil Trade Secret Act, might be primed for success this time around.