Thursday, January 28, 2016

Pass the Defend Trade Secrets Act; The Hill, 1/27/16

Sens. Orrin Hatch (R-Utah) and Chris Coons (D-Del.), The Hill; Pass the Defend Trade Secrets Act:
"Every year, industrial spies infiltrate American companies, stealing valuable trade secrets and leaking them to domestic competitors and corporations overseas. This crime cripples innovation and hampers economic growth, costing U.S. businesses billions of dollars each year. What’s worse, federal law does little to protect against this form of intellectual property theft. In fact, trade secrets are the only form of intellectual property lacking remedies under federal civil law. To safeguard American ingenuity and give companies the protections they deserve, Congress should act now to pass the Defend Trade Secrets Act, which we authored earlier this year.
In addition to the billions of dollars in direct economic costs, trade secret theft also stifles innovation by deterring companies from investing in research and development. Consider the case of DuPont—the chemical company that invented the life-saving Kevlar body armor used by our service members. DuPont invested significant time and resources developing a Kevlar material strong enough to withstand the penetrating trauma of rifle rounds and grenade shrapnel. Because of the company’s efforts, DuPont has saved thousands of lives.
But six years ago, a rogue employee leaked the manufacturing process of Kevlar to a rival company in South Korea, costing DuPont nearly $1 billion in economic losses. In an instant, the company’s comparative advantage—which it had earned after investing thousands of man-hours and millions of dollars—disappeared. Lacking a federal private right of action, DuPont executives were fortunate that the FBI was able to conduct a successful criminal investigation under the Economic Espionage Act. But the FBI lacks the resources to investigate the tens of thousand or more thefts that take place each year. Last year, in fact, the Department of Justice brought only 15 criminal cases for trade secret theft. The absence of a federal private right of action for trade secret misappropriation leaves American intellectual property vulnerable to theft and discourages research and innovation."

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