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President Obama Signs the ‘Defend Trade Secrets’ Act

The Defend Trade Secrets Act (DTSA) of 2016 was recently signed into law by President Barack Obama. The legislation gives companies important new trade secret related legal protections. Under the DTSA, companies may now bring a federal cause of action for trade secret misappropriation. Prior to the signing of this legislation, trade secrets were governed by the Uniform Trade Secrets Act (UTSA), and they were exclusively an issue of state law. It is important that all business owners update their employment and contractor agreements to ensure full protection under this act. If you believe that your company’s trade secret rights have been violated, you should contact an experienced West Palm Beach business litigation attorney for additional information.

Key Facts About the DTSA

The following is a list of important things you need to know about the Defend Trade Secrets Act. For more detailed information on any specific issue, or to learn more about how your company is affected by the law, you should speak to a qualified attorney.

  • The DTSA provides a federal cause of action for trade secret misappropriation;
  • Companies may be entitled to several different types of compensation under the DTSA, including: actual damages; injunctive relief; substantial punitive damages and legal fees;
  • The law includes some civil seizure provisions. This means that, in some circumstances, affected companies may be able to initiate an action to seize property related to their misappropriated trade secrets without giving prior notice to the offending party;
  • The act provides greater access to law enforcement, and injunctive relief, to stop trade secret misappropriation as soon as possible; and
  • The DTSA has a three year statute of limitations; the clock begins to run when the misappropriation was, or should have been, discovered.

Update Your Business Agreements

Trade secret misappropriation can severely damage the interests of your business. It is critical that your company is fully protected, and is able to use the protections available under the DTSA. However, in order to ensure that your company will receive the full protection, all relevant agreements must be updated to include appropriate reference to the law. This includes all employment agreements, all contractor agreements and any agreement with third party consultants. The failure to adequately update these contracts could potentially hinder your company’s ability to bring legal action under the DTSA. An experienced Florida business litigation attorney can review your company’s contracts to ensure that all agreements are fully compliant with, and enforceable under, the new federal legislation.

Contact Our Office Today

Increasingly, business is conducted across state lines. So, it is welcome new for Florida business that there is now a federal cause of action for trade secret misappropriation. At Pike & Lustig, LLP, our business law attorneys can handle any legal issue regarding your company’s trade secrets. If you have any concerns, please do not hesitate to contact our office today at (561)-291-8298 to schedule a free review of your case. We proudly serve businesses throughout the greater West Palm Beach area, including in Broward and Dade Counties.

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