Last week President Obama signed the Defend Trade Secrets Act.  Finally some legislation both sides of the aisle could agree on and the President could sign.  After all, who doesn’t want to protect trade secrets?  So what does this mean for Texas employers faced with a departing employee?

  1.  Another arrow in the quiver.  In October 2013 the Texas Uniform Trade Secrets Act went into effect and we’ve discussed it here previously.  Now we have a federal statute (applicable to all states) that employers can use to protect their secret sauce.
  2. Federal Court – The law creates federal question jurisdiciton.  Put another way – the lawsuit can be filed in federal court not state court assuming the amount in controversy exceeeds $75,000.  Why does this matter?  Sometimes an employer may not want to be in state court.  The reasons can vary from the judge(s) involved, the location of the dispute, etc. So an employer now has a choice.
  3. Definition of Trade Secret – Similar to the TUTSA but there are some minor differences.
  4. Whistle Blower Protection – A whistle blower is afforded some protections if they disclose a trade secret to a government official.
  5. 3 year statute of limitations
  6. Seizures – The law allows a plaintiff to have the government seize its trade secrets from a defendant.  TUTSA has nothing like this.  We shall see how this play out.  This is extraordinary relief.

So, this is now the law of the land.  Stay tuned to see how it develops.