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Defend Trade Secrets Act signed into law

Senator Orrin Hatch, R-Utah, was present when President Obama signed the Defend Trade Secrets Act into law on May 11. The new law will now allow businesses to sue others in federal court for misappropriating intellectual property and trade secrets. Before the law went into effect, the lawsuits were only allowed in state courts.

When he signed the bill, President Obama said that innovation is one of the biggest advantages we have in today's global economy. He said, "Unfortunately, all too often, some of our competitors, instead of competing with us fairly, are trying to steal these trade secrets from American companies. And that means a loss of American jobs, a loss of American markets, a loss of American leadership."

Those who support the new law say that it will help fight the hundreds of billions of dollars that are lost each year when a foreign competitor steals corporate secrets. Senator Hatch said that the law is the "most significant intellectual property development in years." The U.S. Patent and Trademark Office's director, Michelle Lee, said the signing of the law was a "new day for American inventors."

Not everyone supports the new law, though. In a letter from 2014, over 30 law professors said that it will create new problems, such as increasing the cost and duration of trade secret litigation.

Trade secrets and intellectual property are an invaluable part of businesses across the country. Having the opportunity to file lawsuits in federal courts when that information is stolen gives business owners another weapon when it comes to protecting their interests.

Source: The Salt Lake Tribune, "Obama signs Hatch bill protecting trade secrets," Thomas Burr, May 11, 2016

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