News & Events

The Defend Trade Secrets Act – A New Tool in the Protection of Trade Secrets and How to Utilize It


In May 2016, President Obama signed the Defend Trade Secrets Act of 2016 (the “DTSA”), marking the first time trade secret owners could initiate a federal remedy in federal courts to seek protection of their trade secrets.

Previously, trade secret owners were typically limited to the protections afforded by their state’s version of the Uniform Trade Secrets Act and were thus restricted to state court in most instances. Now, trade secret owners have the added option of filing suit in federal court under a federal law trade secrets have been stolen or misappropriated.

In addition to providing a federal forum to litigate the theft of trade secrets, the DTSA also provides several tools and provisions for trade secret owners. 

  • Moving beyond the typical remedies of injunction and/or damages, a trade secret owner can now request that the court order law enforcement to physically seize their trade secrets from the defendant, which is known as a civil seizure. 
  • The DTSA provides immunity for reporting of trade secret information that are made in confidence to a government official as part of an investigation, or under seal in a lawsuit. 
  • Most notably, in order to seek attorney’s fees and exemplary damages under the DTSA, employers must include a notice in all agreements that govern the use of trade secrets or confidential information stating the immunity set forth in the DTSA. 

Employers should review employment agreements to ensure they are in compliance with DSTA if they:

  •  Maintain customer lists, proprietary data and customer information
  • Retain information on customer preferences
  •  Possess and employ unique methods to service clients
  •  Maintain any similar trade secret information to that which is listed above  

Without proper compliance with DTSA, employers forfeit the right to use the Act’s full force against those who misappropriate trade secrets. 

Our attorneys are familiar with the DTSA and its provisions. With swift, detailed advice based on experience, we can efficiently update your employment agreements to ensure DTSA compliance without rewriting the agreement in its entirety.  

If you have any questions or concerns about this issue or any other matter, please contact our office directly at 813-223-1099.

Related Practice

Franchise Law

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