Once More, With Feeling! Congress Swings for the Fences with the Defend Trade Secrets Act of 2015

On July 28, broad bipartisan support ushered the “Defend Trade Secrets Act of 2015” onto the floor of both the House and Senate. This DTSA treads the well-worn path of many similar (and, to date, hapless) bills that fruitlessly preceded it. TSW has exhaustively covered prior attempts, aptly titling our first post “Pols Gone Wild: Congress Discovers Trade Secret Theft and Cybersecurity Are Problems; We Sort Through the Explosion of Legislation”—chart and all.

That was way back in June 2013. In the years since, we’ve diligently followed along as federal lawmakers introduced similar bills later in June 2013 (the dawn of a federal civil cause of action), in December 2013 (another legislation chart is born!), in February 2014 (with a chart updated to include a new measure that would have mirrored language that fixed the Economic Espionage Act) (and about which we issued a cautionary tale in May 2014).

Phew, that’s a lot of legislation. But there was more to come. In August 2014, we covered the Trade Secrets Act of 2014 as it was introduced in the House; its major innovation was to protect defendants facing ex parte seizure orders by upping the ante on the factual showing required of plaintiffs. And in May, we speculated on whether we’d see federal trade secrets legislation passed this year (our verdict: a strong…maybe).

And this may be the legislation we’ve been waiting for with bated breath. Major sponsors including Sen. Orrin Hatch (R-UT) and Rep. Doug Collins (R-GA) introduced the bill in the wake of last year’s failed attempt to pass a similar law called (wait for it…) the “Defend Trade Secrets Act of 2014.” If this DTSA is successful, it would create a federal private right of action for the misappropriation of trade secrets. In other words, everything old is new again.

Stay tuned as TSW keeps you up to date with Congress’ latest attempt to create a federal private right to sue for misappropriated trade secrets. With charts…we promise.