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Understanding the Defend Trade Secrets Act of 2015

Trade secret protections for business owners in Texas include both state and federal laws. However, these are not always defined well enough to prevent a wayward employee from embezzlement or fraud of a company’s private resources. According to Congress.gov, the Defend Trade Secrets Act of 2015 is an attempt to inhibit unfair competition from former employees at the federal level.

If a company owner discovers that a trade secret has been stolen, the proposed law would allow him or her to apply for a seizure order. The materials would be expropriated by the court to prevent the alleged theft from resulting in use or distribution of the trade secret during the litigation.

The Houston Chronicle reports that the trade secrets protected by this bill include marketing strategies and client and supplier lists, as well as methods of manufacturing, sales and distribution. The right to sue someone for theft of trade secrets is provided by federal criminal law, just as with intellectual property. However, the owner of a patent or trademark may sue in a federal civil court, while victims of trade secret theft will continue to be limited to litigation in state courts unless the DTSA is passed.

Those who have sponsored the bill hope that it will eliminate some of the $300 billion in costs to the U.S. economy that is directly due to trade secret theft. The bill is receiving support from the White House, as well as both liberal and conservative lawmakers. In the Senate, the vote to pass the legislation was unanimous. 

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