May 11, 2016
By George H. Spencer, Counsel, Roberts Mlotkowski Safran Cole & Calderon, PC
A new law called the Defend Trade Secrets Act of 2016 was approved unanimously by the Senate and almost unanimously approved by the House and on May 11, 2016, it was signed by the President into Public Law 114-153. The effect of this law is that one can sue in federal court for the misappropriation of a trade secret, as in situations involving the infringement of a patent, trademark of copyright. The DTSA makes it possible to recover actual and exemplary damages and to obtain restitution, injunctive relief and attorney fees, and also allows for ex parte property seizures, subject to certain limitations. There is a three-year statute of limitation so that a suit for misappropriation of a trade secret will have to be filed not more than three years after the misappropriation has been or should have been discovered. While the DTSA does not eliminate the possibility of filing an action for trade secret misappropriation in a state court, there are various reasons why filing such an action in federal court may be more desirable. To be sure, the full impact of the DTSA remains to be seen.