Yesterday, January 28, 2016 the Senate Judiciary Committee held a voice vote in favor of the passage of amended S. 1890, the Defend Trade Secrets Act of 2016 (“DTSA”). S. 1890 was introduced in July 2015 by Senators Orrin G. Hatch (R-UT), Chris Coons (D-DE), and Jeff Flake (R-AZ), and currently has 26 cosponsors in the Senate. As it stands today, trade secret law is patchwork and trade secret theft is protected through both the federal Economic Espionage Act and various state versions of the Uniform Trade Secrets Act. The DTSA would provide a federal civil cause of action for trade secret theft; thereby creating a uniform standard for individuals and companies to protect their trade secret rights.
The Committee’s new amendments include decreasing the statute of limitations from five to three years, and adding an immunity provision to protect individuals from criminal or civil liability for disclosing a trade secret if it is made in confidence to a government official, or to an attorney, for the purpose of reporting a violation of law.
It is not clear when the Committee will move the current version of the DTSA to a floor vote. The House’s version of the DTSA now has 107 cosponsors and it is unknown whether the House’s version will include the Senate’s amendments. Be sure to check back here for more updates.