Defend Trade Secrets Act Is Passed

The Defend Trade Secrets Act ("DTSA") has now passed both the House and Senate and been signed into law by President Obama. While trade secret misappropriation cases have traditionally been governed by state law, the DTSA creates a uniform federal body of law for such cases, and allows access to federal courts without the need to establish diversity of citizenship. Among its notable provisions, the DTSA includes a controversial ex parte civil seizure provision that allows law enforcement to seize property that may be used to disseminate stolen secrets, although it may be invoked only in extraordinary situations. In addition, DTSA includes an immunity provision designed to protect those who utilize trade secrets for whistleblower purposes. Although the new law will not preempt existing state trade secret law, it will provide an additional avenue for protecting company trade secrets in a forum that may be better equipped to handle interstate and international disputes involving complex technologies.