Defend Trade Secrets Act signed into law by Pres. Obama

Glenn W. Peterson

The success of many California businesses hinges on the design and uniqueness of their projects or services. Regardless of whether a company is in the technology industry, pharmaceutical industry, fashion industry or sports industry, it faces severe competition in the marketplace. This competition can lead other companies to illegally copy or obtain vital information, an offense that is known as stealing trade secrets. While this can be challenging enough for businesses whose customer base is in the United States, it can be even tougher when they face global competitors.

When trade secrets are lost to foreign companies, it can severely cripple American ones, causing the loss of those markets. Subsequently, the reduction in revenue can force these businesses to downsize, which results in people losing their jobs. For these reasons, President Obama has signed the Defend Trade Secrets Act into law.

Under the new law, when material is taken illegally from American companies, those companies now have the power to ask law enforcement agencies to reclaim it. Little information was provided on the exact terms of the bill so it is unknown whether the new law covers items such as computer codes, design specs, prototypes or customer-related information. Additionally, the federal court system can be utilized by American companies as a way to seek compensation to cover their financial losses caused by the theft.

The pursuit of financial justice against another party can be complex and lengthy. Therefore, companies may find it helpful to meet with an attorney to explain their situation and explore their options.

Source: California Democrat, “Obama signs bill to deter theft of trade secrets,” May 11, 2016