The Defend Trade Secrets Act of 2016 was signed into law by President Obama on May 11, 2016. While the DTSA has been on the books for over a year, relatively few courts have addressed the ex parte seizure provision and even fewer have actually granted a seizure under the DTSA. This is likely due to the DTSA’s requirement that courts order property seizures only in extraordinary circumstances. In other words, courts are hesitant to grant DTSA ex parte seizure requests unless it is clear that the alleged misappropriator would disobey a TRO or preliminary injunction, or otherwise destroy, move, or hide trade secrets. Courts continue to favor FRCP 65 TROs and preliminary injunctions to protect trade secrets from disclosure or destruction. Under FRCP 65, courts can issue TROs and preliminary injunctions, but cannot order U.S. Marshalls to seize property from a defendant without notice. The following cases are illustrative.
The Trade Secrets Act of 2014 (H.R. 5233) was introduced in the House by Congressman George Holding on July 29, 2014. Representatives Steve Chabot (R-OH), Howard Coble (R-NC), John Conyers (D-MI), Hakeem Jeffries (D-NY), and Jerrold Nadler (D-NY), are cosponsors of the bill.
While the House Bill is very similar to the Bill introduced in the Senate on April 29, 2014 Defend Trade Secrets Act of 2014 (DTSA) (S. 2267), there are some major differences between the two. Specifically, the House Bill is much more protective of defendants facing ex parte seizure orders. READ MORE
Can trade secret owners secretly petition a court to seize property from a competitor that they suspect of stealing trade secrets? In the United States, the answer is: “Not yet.” This is one of the issues that Congress is considering as it debates a myriad of proposed trade secret reform bills. But in France, ex parte seizure orders have been available for some time and can be a powerful tool for trade secret owners to preserve the status quo and prove a case of trade secret misappropriation.
In France, companies that suspect a competitor has stolen its trade secrets can bring an action for unfair competition before the “Tribunal de Commerce,” or Commercial Court. In these types of cases, trade secret owners can allege that their competitors are unfairly benefitting from the plaintiff’s research and development efforts. Although discovery in France is limited, Article 145 of the French Code of Civil Procedure can help plaintiffs obtain the necessary evidence through a pretrial investigative measure known as a “référé in futurum.” READ MORE