By: Greg Northen Editorial Assistance: Kyle Kennedy On May 11, 2016, the Defend Trade Secrets Act (“DTSA”) was approved by Congress and signed into law by President Obama. The DTSA now, for the first time, allows for private civil litigation for trade secret misappropriation in federal district courts. Historically, such actions were limited to State courts under State laws. The DTSA took effect on May 12, 2016. For purposes of the DTSA, a “trade secret” is defined as: “all forms and types of financial, business, scientific, technical, economic, or engineering information, including patterns, plans, compilations, program devices, formulas, designs, prototypes, methods, techniques, processes, procedures, programs, or codes, whether tangible or intangible, and whether or how stored, compiled, or memorialized physically, electronically, graphically, photographically, or in writing if—
- the owner thereof has taken reasonable measures to keep such information secret; and
- the information derives independent economic value, actual or potential, from not being generally known to, and not being readily ascertainable through proper means by, another person who can obtain economic value from the disclosure or use of the information.”
- in confidence to a Federal, State, or local government official, either directly or indirectly, or to an attorney; and solely for the purpose of reporting or investigating a suspected violation of law; or
- in a complaint or other document filed in a lawsuit or other proceeding, if such a filing is made under seal.