U.S. Senators attempt to pass the Defend Trade Secrets Act

Recently, the Defend Trade Secrets Act was passed by the U.S. Senate Committee on the Judiciary. The Defend Trade Secrets Act is headed by U.S. Senators Orrin Hatch and Chris Coons, who issued a press release stating their case for the bill.[1] The Defend Trade Secrets Act attempts to create a federal cause of action for misappropriation of trade secrets.[2] Currently, trade secret law is governed by state law and is subject to the various differing standards within each state. Having a federal standard would provide clarity, but the passing of a federal law may create concerns about whether the current state laws will be preempted by the proposed federal law. The Economic Espionage Act of 1996 makes theft of trade secrets a federal crime, but the amount of cases actually prosecuted by the federal government under this act is minimal.[3]

In Florida, trade secret protection is governed by the Uniform Trade Secrets Act in Fla. Stat. § 688.001, et seq. A trade secret is defined as “information, including a formula, pattern, compilation, program, device, method, technique, or process that:

Derives independent economic value, actual or potential, from not being generally known to, and not being readily ascertainable by proper means by, other persons who can obtain economic value from its disclosure or use; and

Is the subject of efforts that are reasonable under the circumstances to maintain its secrecy.”[4]

Trade secret protection is not automatic and in order to obtain protection there must have been reasonable steps taken to preserve the secrecy thereof. Our firm has provided a helpful list (https://500law.com/faq/what-steps-can-i-take-to-preserve-the-secrecy-of-my-trade-secrets/) of suggestions of how the secrecy of trade secrets can be preserved. The aforementioned list provides general guidelines and suggestions. Consultation with a Florida licensed attorney is recommended to formulate a specific plan for protection. Our attorneys are experienced in trade secret protection and will be monitoring the status of the Defend Trade Secrets Act to determine the impact it may have on Florida law if passed.

Please contact our office if you have any questions regarding the information in this article.

Daniel Devine, Esq.
Santucci Priore, P.L.

[1] See, http://thehill.com/blogs/congress-blog/technology/267204-pass-the-defend-trade-secrets-act
[2] Id.
[3] See, http://thehill.com/blogs/congress-blog/technology/267204-pass-the-defend-trade-secrets-act
[4] See, Fla. Stat. § 688.02(4).

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