White House Announces the Administration Strategy on Mitigating the Theft of U.S. Trade Secrets

On February 20, 2013, the White House released the Administration Strategy on Mitigating the Theft of U.S. Trade Secrets (the “Strategy”), which “recognizes the crucial role of trade secrets in the U.S. economy and sets out a means for improved coordination within the U.S. government to protect them.” The Strategy articulates a five-pronged approach including (1) diplomatic efforts to protect trade secrets overseas, (2) promotion of voluntary best practices by private industry to protect trade secrets, (3) enhancement of domestic law enforcement, (4) improvement of domestic legislation, and (5) public awareness and stakeholder outreach. Emphasizing its importance, the Strategy was announced jointly by U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder, U.S. Intellectual Property Enforcement Coordinator Victoria Espinel, and U.S. Department of Commerce Deputy Secretary Rebecca Blank.

The announcement of the Strategy culminates an intense sixty-day period of federal activity with respect to trade secret protection that includes the enactment of the Theft of Trade Secrets Clarification Act (“Clarification Act”) and the Foreign and Economic Espionage Penalty Enhancement Act of 2012 (“Enhancement Act”). The Strategy suggests that additional federal legislation may be appropriate. After an overview of the Strategy, this Alert discusses the Clarification Act, the Enhancement Act, a proposed amendment that would create a private civil right of action under the federal Economic Espionage Act of 1996 (“EEA”), and practical steps companies may take in light of the Strategy.

Please see full alert below for more information.

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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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