International Trend Toward Strengthening Trade Secret Law

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As the patent wars continue to rage, and the cost of securing and enforcing patent rights continues to rise in the United States and abroad, the role of trade secrets in securing and protecting valuable intellectual property has become increasingly prominent. As a result, trade secret law recently has received increasing attention around the world. New and proposed laws in the United States, Europe, and China all signal the rising importance of trade secrets in the global economy.

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Unlike the US patent system, which was expressly authorized by the Constitution and created by one of the first acts of Congress, trade secrets have long been mostly ignored by the federal government. Like trademarks, trade secrets were traditionally the domain of state common law. Unlike trademarks, however, which eventually gained federal recognition through the Lanham Act and other legislation, trade secrets remained, until recently, mostly outside the purview of federal law. The first federal law to directly and broadly address the protection of trade secrets did not come until 1996 with the Economic Espionage Act (EEA), which created criminal penalties (including imprisonment) for theft of trade secrets.

Originally published in Intellectual Property & Technology Law Journal – April, 2014.

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Topics:  Appeals, China, EEA, EU, Intellectual Property Litigation, Patents, RICO, Trade Secrets, Trademarks

Published In: Business Torts Updates, Intellectual Property Updates, International Trade Updates

DISCLAIMER: Because of the generality of this update, the information provided herein may not be applicable in all situations and should not be acted upon without specific legal advice based on particular situations.

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