WASHINGTON – U.S. Senators Lindsey Graham (R-South Carolina) and Sheldon Whitehouse (D-Rhode Island) today voted in support of the Defend Trade Secrets Act. The bipartisan legislation, which both senators cosponsored, passed the Senate by a vote of 87-0.
“This is an important piece of legislation which will help protect companies from unscrupulous actors in the marketplace,” said Graham. “At the end of the day, this is about American innovation and this legislation will help protect American jobs, workers, and companies. It has strong bipartisan support and I hope it will become law this year.”
“This is important bipartisan legislation to address a major threat to American companies and our ability to compete in an international marketplace," said Whitehouse, who proposed a series of changes to the Defend Trade Secrets Act designed to protect property and privacy rights, ensure due process, and to provide better guidance to law enforcement officials charged with executing DTSA seizures. Those changes were included in the version of the bill that passed today. “I am glad the bill included my improvements to help protect privacy and property rights. Thank you to the lead sponsors for taking my concerns into account, and I look forward to this bill becoming law.”
Whitehouse and Graham noted that confidential trade secrets give businesses an edge in the marketplace and depending on the industry, trade secrets can include manufacturing processes, formulas, computer algorithms, industrial designs, business strategies, customer lists, and more. American companies have become increasingly concerned about protecting themselves against threats, including hackers and rogue employees, who seek to steal this important information.
The highlights of the legislation include:
• Allowing companies the right to sue in federal court to recover damages, enforce injunctions, and prevent the further dissemination of stolen trade secrets;
• Creating a uniform standard for what constitutes trade secret theft. Under current law, if a company wants to sue, they are relegated to state courts, where slightly varied state laws apply;
• Providing law enforcement additional tools for prosecuting criminal trade secret theft.
The legislation will now be sent to the House of Representatives.