Friday, January 29, 2016

The Defend Trade Secrets Act of 2015

Prepared Statement by Senator Chuck Grassley of Iowa
Chairman, Senate Judiciary Committee
Executive Business Meeting

The next bill on the agenda is S.1890, the Defend Trade Secrets Act of 2015, introduced by Senators Hatch and Coons.

As we learned in a recent Committee hearing, while state trade secret laws provide U.S. companies many protections, at times these laws are inadequate.

The threats trade secret owners face are coming from thieves who are able to quickly travel across state lines and who use technology to aid their misappropriation. In many cases, the existing patch-work of state laws governing trade secret theft presents difficult procedural hurdles for victims who must seek immediate relief.

Further, the pace of trade secret theft is mounting and federal law enforcement authorities don’t have the bandwidth to prosecute but a fraction of cases. This means that victims of trade secret theft cannot rely on criminal enforcement, making a civil cause of action an effective way to go after the perpetrators.

The Defend Trade Secrets Act would amend the Economic Espionage Act of 1996 to create a federal civil remedy for trade secret misappropriation, allowing for a uniform national standard without preempting state law. The bill would provide clear rules and predictability for trade secret cases. Victims will be able to move quickly to federal court, with certainty of the rules, standards, and practices to stop trade secrets from being disseminated and losing their value. By improving trade secret protection, this bill will also help to incentivize future innovation.

Additionally, Ranking Member Leahy and I will be offering an amendment to help protect whistleblowers. more