Until now, trade secret cases have exclusively been decided under the laws of each state. However, the Defend Trade Secrets Act of 2016 (“DTSA”), signed into law today by President Obama, provides new federal protection for trade secrets. Going forward, this new federal protection should result in a national standard providing greater predictability of legal outcomes for trade secret cases.
While the new DTSA does not preempt existing state law, it provides additional federal protections in the form of ex-parte seizure orders, injunctive relief and monetary damages. The DTSA also provides safeguards against claims made in bad faith, and immunity to parties who disclose a trade secret to the government or an attorney for reporting a suspected violation of law.