Protecting Your Trade Secrets Under The New Federal Law

All companies have trade secrets. It may be a list of customers, the best installers, future opportunities, warehousing techniques or similar information. To protect this important information, it must be kept confidential and limit access to those that need to know.

A new federal law, Defend Trade Secrets Act of 2016 (“DTSA”), now allows parties to bring suits in federal court to protect their trade secrets. This new law provided a number of significant advantages and benefits. A company may be able under the new law to have goods made or sold that infringe on trade secrets immediately seized, to recover double its actual damages and to be awarded the attorney fees and cost incurred to protect confidential information. The law also protects whistleblowers from retaliation if the employee discloses trade secret information to government or court officials in confidence

To take advantage of the law, a company should update its employment and confidentiality agreements to disclose the whistleblower immunity provisions in the DTSA. If it does not, the company is not eligible to recover double damages or attorney fees in trade secret litigation. The DTSA does not preempt existing state law, so a company can still file in state courts.

As with any legal issue, it is recommended that you consult with competent legal counsel who is well versed in the new law and employment issues.

Notice: The information contained in this blog is abridged from legislation, court decisions, and administrative rulings and should not be construed as legal advice or opinion, and is not a substitute for the advice of counsel.

Thursday, December 8, 2016