On April 4, 2016, the U.S. Senate adopted the Defend Trade Secrets Act. (S. 1890) As a clear indication of the strong bi-partisan support the bill enjoyed, the vote was unanimous (87-0). Shortly afterwards, House Judiciary Committee Chairman Bob Goodlatte (R-VA) promised quick action in the House, noting “Protecting the vital proprietary information of U.S. companies is essential to American competitiveness, job creation, and ensuring a robust economy. I look forward to moving legislation to protect American trade secrets through the House Judiciary Committee in the coming weeks.”
True to his word, the House Judiciary Committee considered S. 1890 and ultimately voted (by voice vote) to approve the Senate bill on April 20, 2016. The Committee emphasized, “Trade secrets are an increasingly important form of intellectual property that have become more vulnerable to theft as a result of our globalized economy. While current federal law protects other forms of intellectual property by providing access to federal courts for aggrieved parties to seek redress, there is no federal option to do so for trade secret theft. The bipartisan Defend Trade Secrets Act seeks to change that by allowing companies to seek civil penalties in order to protect their businesses from those engaging in economic espionage. S. 1890 gives American innovators a powerful new tool which will help them compete in an ever-evolving global market.”
A companion House bill is also being considered. (HR 3326) The DTSA enjoys similar bi-partisan support in the House, where the bill enjoys 127 co-sponsors from both parties.