“What’s Yours is Mine and What’s Mine is Mine” – The Defend Trade Secrets Act of 2016

Defend the Trade Secrets Act

Defend Trade Secrets Act of 2016

By Andrew P. Botti

General Provisions
On May 11, 2016, President Obama signed into law amendments to the Economic Espionage Act, 18 USC §1832 et seq. which added a civil component to what was formerly a federal crime, i.e., the theft of trade secrets. The new law – known popularly as the “Defend Trade Secrets Act of 2016” – authorizes a federal private right of action which carries with it a big stick – or perhaps more accurately – a big hand! The Act authorizes the seizure of property consisting of misappropriated trade secrets by federal law enforcement officials under the auspices of the United States District Court.  The Act defines “misappropriation” as the acquiring of a trade secret by a person who knows the trade secret was acquired by improper means, i.e, theft, bribery, misrepresentation, or electronic espionage. The Act also defines misappropriation as the disclosure or use of another’s trade secret without consent by a person who used improper means to acquire knowledge of the trade secret.

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