Obama Signs Law Boosting Federal Trade Secret Protections
President Barack Obama signed a new federal law on May 11 that's designed to help the nation protect its intellectual property by giving the federal courts broader jurisdiction in civil cases involving the loss of trade secrets.
The new law, titled the "Defend Trade Secrets Act of 2016" also adds some new powers to the federal government and it provides some protections for individuals in dealing with trade secrets.
The primary goal of the DTSA is to give the federal courts original jurisdiction over cases involving the theft or loss of trade secrets. This means that a company can bring suit in federal court to recover losses, and in some cases, it can request an order from the court that the trade secret be seized from those who misappropriated them. The act covers both intentional theft as well as accidental loss of a trade secret.
There's also a recent addition to the DTSA that provides protection for whistleblowers who pass a trade secret along to the government or to their counsel. This means that an employee or contractor can provide a trade secret to regulators if necessary to prove wrongdoing.
NEWS ANALYSIS: Trade secret protections have been around for a long time, but the new Protect Trade Secrets Act provides a wider path to federal court.
As a part of the whistleblower protection, companies are now required to include the wording about whistleblower protections in their employee or contractor agreements if trade secrets will be involved.