On May 11, 2016, President Obama signed the Defend Trade Secrets Act (DTSA), creating a federal civil remedy for trade secrets theft, in addition to preexisting criminal penalties. This Act amends the Economic Espionage Act of 1996, which was later amended in 2012. Under these older statutes, even though both criminal and civil causes of action were available, only the U.S. Attorney General's Office could bring those actions. The new law allows the injured party to bring a civil cause of action.
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For further analysis about the DTSA, read an earlier alert from our Intellectual Property attorneys, "Trade Secrets Legislation Sails Through Senate."