February 07, 2017 Articles

Trade Secrets Venue Considerations

Venue selection can be vital to the outcome of a case

By Daixi Xu and Brent Caslin

Given that nearly all of the states have adopted the Uniform Trade Secrets Act (UTSA), and the U.S. government recently enacted the Defend Trade Secrets Act (DTSA), one might assume that venue is not a significant factor in the outcome of trade secrets cases. That assumption would not be accurate. On the contrary, state interpretations of the UTSA vary by jurisdiction, sometimes dramatically. It is too soon to tell how federal courts will interpret the DTSA, but if their interpretations of a related federal statute, the Computer Fraud and Abuse Act (CFAA), stand as an indication, the new federal statute could mean different things in different places. Add to this lack of uniformity other normal venue concerns, such as perceived differences in court quality, jury pool considerations, punitive damages statutes, varying ancillary state law, and jurisdictional issues, and one can better see that the selection of venue is indeed an important strategic decision that will likely affect any case involving the misappropriation of confidential information.

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