The Government and Secrets of Trade

During May of last year, an act went into effect without much fanfare or notice yet fundamentally changed the landscape of Intellectual Property Law. The act is called the Defend Trade Secrets Act and changes the way trade secrets are handled within the US. Before the act was passed, trade secrets were very different from its cousins; copyright, patent, and trademark. While the three had uniform rules and federal protection, trade secrets didn’t, left alone as a state matter. While most states had similar definitions of trade secrets and procedures to handle them, there were slight differences between the states, allowing for technicalities to interfere with infringement claims. The new federal act brings all the states under one definition and prescribes a uniform method of determining reparation damages to be repaid in infringement claims. In addition the new act also protects corporate whistleblowers from criminal or civil punishment for revealing company secrets. Encouraging people to report wrongdoings and discouraging companies from committing them.