For all of 2016, one of the most significant developments in the Intellectual Property field was the implementation of the Defend Trade Secrets Act of 2016 (“DTSA”).
Before implementation of the DTSA, trade secret protection was a matter of state law. While businesses had federal rights for patents, trademarks and copyrights, trade secret was solely governed at the state level. The DTSA changed this legal landscape to provide legal uniformity and federal protection for trade secrets as well as access to the federal courts to enforce trade secrets.
Under DTSA a “trade secret” is broadly classified as any “form of intellectual property that allow[s] for the legal protection of commercially valuable, proprietary information.”
As noted, under the DTSA, a trade secret owner can sue for misappropriation n the federal courts. This is a significant development because having adjudicated patent infringement matters for decades, the federal courts are prepared to understand complex trade secrets and the technologies behind them.