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US Senate unanimously approves Defend Trade Secrets Bill

It empowers companies to sue in federal court if their commercial secrets are stolen and would also help them to recover damages, enforce injunctions and prevent the further dissemination of stolen secrets.

Apr 6, 2016 11:11 IST
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The US Senate on 5 April 2016 approved Defend Trade Secrets Bill. The legislation provides greater legal protection to companies for their commercial secrets. It was passed by 87-0, amid strong White House backing.

Now the bill will be sent for approval to the House of Representatives.

Key features of the bill

• It empowers companies to sue in federal court if their commercial secrets are stolen. It would help them to recover damages, enforce injunctions and prevent the further dissemination of stolen trade secrets. Trade secrets are confidential information that can give a business a commercial edge.

• It would also create a uniform standard for what constitutes trade secret theft. Currently, if companies want to sue, they are relegated to state courts, where there is a patchwork of state laws.

According to a 2013 report by the Commission on the Theft of American Intellectual Property, theft of intellectual property, including trade secrets, costs US businesses more than 300 billion dollars every year.

Why such legislation was required?

Though trade secret theft is a federal crime in the US but the legislation was required because sponsors of the bill think that the US Department of Justice lacks the resources to prosecute such crimes.

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