Capitol Hill

On Monday April 4, the US Senate unanimously passed the Defend Trade Secrets Act of 2016, 87-0.

Theft of intellectual property costs US companies upwards of $300 billion each year, and that’s without taking into account what the loss of industrial trade secrets does to our national security. For these reasons, there has been broad public and private sector support for the Defend Trade Secrets Act, including from Americans for Tax Reform, which released a letter in support of S. 1890.

The following is a highlight from the letter:

“Trade secrets are important to all companies, and especially small and innovative companies because they do not have the budget to seek patent protection. S.1890 Defend Trade Secrets Act 2016 legislation enables American businesses to protect their trade secrets in federal court. Furthermore, the legislation equips businesses with the necessary tools to respond to trade secret theft, including the ability to retrieve stolen assets and seek injunctions against perpetrators.”

The Defend Trade Secrets Act of 2016 is a step in the right direction after years of loss of intellectual property to foreign entities and multinational corporations who, as Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Kentucky) said, “would rather not go through the trouble of developing products themselves; they’d rather just steal the fruits of others’ creativity.” Taking action to actually protect American companies from these threats is not only in the interest of US national security and private sector bottom lines, but in the spirit of the free market and competition as well.

This legislation strengthens legal protections for the commercial trade secrets of US companies. The bill, if signed into law, would create uniform standards on what constitutes commercial trade secret theft and give companies the right to sue in federal court over incidences of such theft.

The legislation, which also has support from the White House, now heads to the House, where Rep. Doug Collins (R-GA) is spearheading the effort.  As of now, the House has not scheduled any hearings on its version of the bill.