Congress passes Defend Trade Secrets Act by overwhelming margin


On April 27, 2016, the United States House of Representatives passed S. 1890, the Defend Trade Secrets Act of 2016 (DTSA), by a vote of 410-2. Only Congressman Thomas Massie (R-KY) and Congressman Justin Amash (R-MI) voted against the bill.

The  DTSA was authored by U.S. Senators Chris Coons (D-DE) (pictured left) and Orrin Hatch (R-UT) and cosponsored by nearly two-thirds of the Senate. The bill was previously passed by the Senate on April 4, 2016, by a vote of 87-0, and will now move on the White House. Even before the Senate passed the DTSA, the Obama Administration voiced strong support for the bill. President Obama is expected to quickly sign the bill into law, which will make it the the first-ever comprehensive federal trade secret law.

Once signed by President Obama, the DTSA will amend the Economic Espionage Act of 1996 to create a federal civil remedy for stealing trade secrets and give innovators another procedural avenue by which to protect their intellectual property from theft.

“For many companies and industries, trade secrets are a critical element of their overall business strategy, valuable only when that ‘secret sauce’ doesn’t get into the wrong hands,” said Michelle Lee, Under Secretary of Commerce for Intellectual Property and the Director of the United States Patent and Trademark Office. “Innovators, manufacturers, and entrepreneurs of all types will benefit greatly from a civil cause of action at the federal courts– providing a more uniform way to take action and stronger resources to prevent the transit of trade secrets out of the country. We applaud today’s bipartisan action, as it builds on the Administration’s unwavering commitment to arm businesses with a robust suite of intellectual property tools, vital to remaining competitive in a global and digital economy.”

Also praising the passage of the DTSA by the House of Representatives was the Partnership for American Innovation,  a group of companies that include Apple, DuPont, Ford, GE, IBM, Microsoft, Pfizer and others.

“The DTSA provides strong federal protection for trade secrets that will help to safeguard thousands of American jobs and curb theft that costs the U.S up to three percent of its GDP annually,” said David Kappos, former USPTO Director and a Senior Advisor to the Partnership for American Innovation, who was speaking on the group’s behalf. “We’re proud to support the DTSA and look forward to the President signing this important bill into law.”

For more on the Defend Trade Secrets Act of 2016, please see:

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