What is the Defend Trade Secrets Act?
The Defend Trade Secrets Act is a set of laws recently adopted by the Federal Government that applies to trade secrets – a class of valuable tools that fall outside the federal protection under Trade Law.
Before the Defend Trade Secrets Act
Trade secrets were mostly handled on the state level before the Defend Trade Secrets Act. Oklahoma has its version. Due to the way modern business works and the size of marketplaces, it became a bigger problem than many states could handle. Many corporations now do business on the global market and a state has little enforcement power against other countries. A more defined set of laws was needed, and it needed to be controlled by the Federal government which can try to enforce trade issues between nations.
The Defend Trade Secrets Act provides a federal presence over trade secrets and somewhat replaces amended versions of the Uniform Trade Secrets Act adopted in most states.
What Are Trade Secrets
Unlike a pattern on a tool or design, a trade secret may simply be a particular way of operating a business. A trade secret can be worth millions of dollars and an example would be the recipe used by Kentucky Fried Chicken. Trade secrets are protected and guarded but what happens when a top-level manager in the know leaves a company and is hired by a competitor?
Trade secrets often fall victim to industrial espionage which occurs between a company and between nations. Trade fuels the world economy and every nation has a hand in that pot. That is one of the biggest reasons why the Defend Trade Secrets Act is a federal project.
Does the Defend Trade Secrets Act Replace State Law?
The new Defend Trade Secrets Act does not replace the laws outlined at the state level. Even the Oklahoma version of the Uniformed Trade Secrets Act remains in place and is viable. Having both a state and federal trade act means that companies can approach more than one governmental body or choose the one that best fits their needs.
At the state level, a company can take action against another US company that infringes on trade secrets. The company can use the federal trade act to deal with situations that require a larger player – such as when a company has a trade secret issue with a foreign country, such as China.
Even small companies can find a resource at both levels. If you are a company and need help with trade secret protection, contact a business lawyer with experience in trade secrets. They will help you understand the rights you hold under the law – both at the state and federal levels.
Contact Brown & Gould With Additional Questions About Trade Secrets
Brown & Gould Law Offices provides business law services throughout the state of Oklahoma. Learn more about trade secret laws and other laws pertaining to business by contacting our firm. Our team of experienced attorneys is here to help you!