Defend Trade Secrets Act of 2016

Earlier this week, the President signed a bill into law granting federal civil protection for trade secret theft. The new law is called the Defend Trade Secrets Act of 2016. In its basic form, the law tacks on civil penalties and the right to bring a civil lawsuit for trade secret theft in addition to already existing federal criminal penalties.
Trade secrets are legally protectable information such as designs, processes, techniques, software and other similar information. In general, to be a trade secret, the information must possess independent economic value, not be generally known, and the owner takes reasonable steps to keep the information secret. Prior to this new federal law, trade secrets were most often protected under an individual state's version of the Uniform Trade Secrets Act and/or state common law.
Unique to the new federal law, however, are several features. The federal law:
1) provides an avenue for federal lawsuits to be brought to enforce trade secret protection,
2) does not preempt other causes of action such as fraud, which are most often precluded by existing state laws,
3) provides for additional damages not otherwise available under existing law, and
4) provides for an ex parte seizure order prior to notice of the lawsuit to the defendant.
This new law appears to offer several compelling reasons to consider invoking it in a trade secret lawsuit. Trade secret litigation is complex, but necessary if the owner of the trade secrets wishes to continue to maintain an advantage over his or her competitors in today's ever changing market. Businesses facing trade secret theft or simply desiring to explore more secure measures to protect existing information are well advised to seek the advice of counsel who have familiarity in this area.