News & Insights

President Obama Signs Defend Trade Secrets Act of 2016

On May 11, 2016, President Obama signed into law the Defend Trade Secrets Act of 2016 (“DTSA”), which amends the Economic Espionage Act of 1996 to provide a federal cause of action to private companies for trade secret misappropriation. The DTSA became effective immediately, but only applies to misappropriation occurring on or after the law’s effective date.

Aside from the federal protections provided under the DTSA, most states (including Delaware and the District of Columbia, but not New York or Massachusetts) have already adopted a version of the Uniform Trade Secrets Act (“UTSA”), which provides a cause of action for the theft of trade secrets under state law. There are a number of differences, however, among these state laws. The DTSA does not eliminate or preempt state law remedies, but rather supplements them. Notably, the DTSA grants employers access to federal court—regardless of the amount in controversy—and provides uniformity across the patchwork of state laws.

Like the UTSA, the DTSA allows employers to obtain the following: (i) equitable remedies, (ii) actual damages, (iii) punitive damages, and (iv) reasonable attorneys’ fees. In addition to these remedies, the DTSA includes the extraordinary remedy of an ex parte seizure order in certain extreme circumstances.
To read more about this new law, please click here: Defend Trade Secrets Act of 2016.

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