In the most consequential Intellectual Property development of 2016, the Federal government has enacted a brand new federal trade secrets law, known as Defend Trade Secrets Act (DTSA).  This means that now all four branches of Intellectual Property (Patent, Trademark, Copyright, and Trade Secrets) are protected under Federal law and can be brought in Federal courts.

Dr. Dariush Adli, President of the Los Angeles based ADLI Law Group, which is well known for representing and advising Hi Tech corporate clients in trade secrets matters, applauds this new development, pointing out that “traditionally, trade secrets disputes had to be litigated in state courts, which limited the reach of any decision by making it time consuming and expensive to enforce a state court decision in other states.  The DTSA should alleviate this problem by providing for uniformity and easier enforcement.”

Although the DTSA provides federal standards for enforcing trade secret rights, it leaves trade secret state laws in effect.  Most states have adopted the Uniform Trade Secrets Act (UTSA).  According to Dr. Adli, “this dual forum (state and federal) provides an advantage to trade secret holders, who can choose to enforce their rights under the DTSA, or under state law.”  Dr Adli notes the existence of “several differences between the new federal law and the UTSA, the most important of which is availability of ex parte seizure orders, which, in effect, allows confiscation of the trade secret without notification to the accused infringer.”  In addition, the law provides for injunction and treble damages.

Dr. Adli finds the DTSA to be “a welcome development in providing more uniform standards and enforcement mechanisms for trade secret violations.  This should result in a more efficient and lower cost enforcement of trade secret rights.”

© 2017 Dr. Dariush Adli