After years of stops and starts in Congressional efforts to pass a law creating a federal claim for misappropriation of trade secrets that can be pursued by private citizens and companies (as opposed to federal prosecutors), the last few weeks have produced an astonishing acceleration of those efforts. This month, the Defend Trade Secrets Act has been approved by both houses of Congress in resounding fashion. It is on the brink of being enacted into law.
On April 27, 2016, the House of Representatives voted 410-2 to pass the Defend Trade Secrets Act. That vote came quickly on the heels of the April 20, 2016 approval of the bill by the House Judiciary Committee, where the bill had languished since July 2015. The Judiciary Committee finally took action on the bill after the Senate voted unanimously by a tally of 87-0 to approve the bill on April 4, 2016.
The bill will soon be sent to President Obama for signature, and his administration has previously stated that it strongly supports it. The law is designed to go into effect on the day it is enacted and apply to any misappropriation that occurs thereafter.
For further discussion of the efforts to make a federal private right of action for trade secret misappropriation a reality, as well as discussion of some of its significant provisions, see our recent blog posts, and also Epstein Becker Green’s Take 5 article – Will There Finally Be a Federal Private Right of Action for Trade Secret Misappropriation?