Winter 2014 Federal Copyright and Trade Secret Legislation Update

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Several bills under consideration in the 113th Congress would establish or significantly amend certain federal statutes related to the protection, enforcement, and exploitation of trade secrets or copyrights. Some legislation aims to establish a private right of action for trade secret theft under federal law or to prevent or deter trade secret theft through cyberattacks. Other bills are designed to repeal or leverage certain compulsory copyright license fees or to modify copyright laws relating to public performance rights and anticircumvention of technological access controls on consumer devices. If signed into law, these bills would have important implications on a wide range of interested parties, including performing artists, entertainment industry or content right stakeholders, and any business intent on exerting greater control over its trade secrets. Set forth below is a current summary of some of the more significant bills.

Trade Secrets -

Recent developments in U.S. federal trade secret law spring from the Economic Espionage Act of 1996 (EEA). While the EEA currently only provides for criminal prosecution, the Future of American Innovation and Research Act (S. 1770) (FAIR Act) would allow trade secret owners to bring civil actions for trade secret misappropriation against foreign defendants (or defendants located in the U.S. when the theft was intended to benefit a foreign person or entity). Designed primarily to target trade secret theft by or in favor of foreign actors or entities, under the FAIR Act, plaintiffs may seek damages, restitution, injunctive relief, punitive damages, and attorney’s fees, and courts may seize items used to facilitate trade secret theft (i.e., cell phones or computers). A similar version of the foregoing bill, the Private Right of Action Against Theft of Trade Secrets Act of 2013 (H.R. 2466) creates a private cause of action for trade secret theft against defendants located in the U.S. and further clarifies that claims for reverse engineering trade secrets are not actionable. The private right of action under these bills would presumably help companies that face trade secret theft involving international participants by facilitating multi-jurisdictional litigation involving witnesses and critical evidence located in another state or country. Under either bill, a private right of action would also allow companies to assert greater intellectual property rights over proprietary data, such as consumer data that has become a more important intangible asset to many businesses.

Please see full article below for more information.

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Topics:  Copyright, Cyber Attacks, Cybersecurity, Data Protection, Theft, Trade Secrets

Published In: Art, Entertainment & Sports Updates, Business Torts Updates, Criminal Law Updates, Intellectual Property Updates, Science, Computers & Technology 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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