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As expected, President Barack Obama on Wednesday signed into law the Defend Trade Secrets Act 2016, which will enable companies to file trade secrets litigation in federal courts.
Until now, businesses could file trade secrets litigation under the Uniform Trade Secrets Act of 1979, which was amended in 1985, but 48 states had adopted their own versions of the law, which had created complications for firms that operate in multiple states.
In a rare display of bipartisanship, the legislation had passed the House of Representatives in a 410-2 vote and the Senate in an 87-0 vote. It was sent to the president for signature late last month.
In signing the bill, the president said that all too often competitors are trying to steal trade secrets from American companies “instead competing with us fairly.”
This act “allows us not only to go after folks who are stealing trade secrets through criminal actions, but also through civil actions, and hurt them where it counts in their pocketbooks,” the president said.
(Reuters) — Caterpillar Inc. was ordered to pay $73.6 million in damages in a lawsuit by a former supplier that accused the equipment manufacturer of misappropriating its trade secrets.