In Biggest Expansion of IP Law in 70 Years, Congress Passes Defend Trade Secrets Act

Yesterday Congress passed federal trade secrets legislation (the “Defend Trade Secrets Act” or “DTSA”) by an overwhelming 410-2 vote.

The Wall Street Journal notes that the DTSA has been called the “most significant expansion” of federal intellectual property law in 70 years (since the Lanham Act was passed in 1946 to provide federal protection to trademarks). House Judiciary Chair Bob Goodlatte said the measure “will help American innovators protect their intellectual property from criminal theft by foreign agents and those engaging in economic espionage.” Read More

Get Off My Cloud: “BYOC” Workplaces Pose Trade Secrets Risks

There’s been a lot of talk in recent years about “BYOD” (“Bring Your Own Device”) policies, which are becoming increasingly common in the workplace. Employees want the flexibility and ease that comes with being able to use a personal device for work purposes, but employers have long been warned about risks to information security and other perils that come with the territory. Employers take on a separate and distinct set of risks when employees use personal cloud storage services at work—an increasing trend that’s been dubbed “Bring Your Own Cloud” or “BYOC.”  Read More

Federal Law or Another False Alarm? Senate Passes the Defend Trade Secrets Act of 2016 87-0. 

Relief may soon be coming for trade secrets plaintiffs longing for federal court. Last year we covered the introduction of the Defend Trade Secrets Act (DTSA), compared it to the Uniform Trade Secrets Act (UTSA), and questioned whether federal court under this new law would be a preferable venue to plaintiffs. Since then, the bill, like the many that came before it, died in Congress. Read More

Proving “Loss” Under the Economic Espionage Act – Not Always Straightforward

The Obama Administration’s focus on criminal trade secret prosecutions under the Economic Espionage Act (EEA) highlights the legal complexities at the murky intersection between criminal and civil jurisprudence in trade secrets cases. As we previously discussed, when it comes time for sentencing, determining the “value” of the stolen trade secrets is often difficult—and courts have applied different valuation models. Read More

Haven’t You Heard? Trade Secret Theft Can Occur in Unusual Ways

A recent development from the 3D printing world reminds us that threats of trade secret misappropriation are more varied than cyber-espionage or the disgruntled employee taking confidential information to a competitor. With exciting new technologies come “exciting” new ways to steal trade secrets. Sometimes all it takes to steal a secret is being a good listener. Read More

The Gloves Are Off: Competing Biopics Battle For Hollywood Purse

Hollywood’s heavy-hitters often enter the ring over unauthorized biographies. Elizabeth Taylor famously invoked her rights of publicity and privacy in an attempt to shut down an unofficial docudrama about her life; Clint Eastwood sued the author and publisher of his unsanctioned biography for libel; and a film production company brought claims for copyright and trademark infringement against the producers of the biopic Lovelace starring Amanda Seyfried. Hollywood’s newest matchup involves misappropriation of trade secrets, a growing concern in the entertainment industry, especially after the recent Sony hack. Read More

Senate Bill in Georgia Seeks to Expand Scope of Trade Secret Protection

On February 2, 2016, Georgia State Senator Hunter Hill introduced Senate Bill 321 in the Georgia Senate. The bill is entitled “Commerce and Trade; state government; protections against public disclosure of certain information.” The bill has 36 co-sponsors, all of whom, like Hill, are Republican.  Read More

Washington’s Legislature Considers Limiting Non-Competes

According to the most recently available Census data, among those who moved from another state to Washington in the prior year, many times more people came up from California than from anywhere else. The Washington Legislature is presently considering whether a certain California public policy should head up I-5 as well. Read More