March 07, 2018 Articles

Defend Trade Secrets Act of 2016: Important Take-Aways to Combat Those Who Take Away

A new federal law gives companies another tool to protect their trade secrets, along with a clear path to federal court to bring their claims

by Christopher S. Koller and Kathleen M. Laubenstein

Armed with an inexpensive thumb drive, a smart phone, or an employer’s very own email and Internet access—or simply walking out the door with paper files—an employee or competitor has an impressive arsenal to steal confidential information and trade secrets. It is not only easier to surreptitiously remove valuable confidential information; it is easier to take more varied types of information and to take much more of it.

No enterprise is immune from misappropriation of its trade secrets, which puts enterprises at risk of substantial losses in revenue and damage to reputation. Until recently, recovering the misappropriated information and getting damages for its removal and misuse meant relying on various state law causes of action and potentially languid state courts. However, with the enactment of the Defend Trade Secrets Act of 2016 (DTSA), practitioners can now bring a private cause of action in federal court for misappropriation of trade secrets, in addition to state remedies. What follows are the important take-aways you need to know about this recently enacted law before your client’s employees or competitors take away their trade secrets.

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