President Obama Signs Defend Trade Secrets Act

This week, President Obama signed S. 1890, the Defend Trade Secrets Act of 2016 (“DTSA”).  DTSA ended up on the President’s desk after it  passed the House 410-2 on April 27th.

DTSA would create remedies for trade secret misappropriation similar to those in place for other forms of intellectual property and, most notably, a federal court option for pursuing these claims.  While the bill is similar to the Uniform Trade Secret Act adopted by many states, it differs in that:

  • it creates a remedy for ex parte seizures of trade secrets prior to giving notice of the lawsuit to the defendant in order to prevent dissemination of the trade secrets;
  • expands the statute of limitation to five years; and
  • allows for treble damages.

In addition, the DTSA provides protection to whistle blowers who report trade secret violations and requires employers to give notice of the immunity provision in any proprietary agreements entered after the effective date.

Below is a House Judiciary Committee analysis of the bill, along with a Congressional Research Service report summarizing trade secret legislation.


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