On May 11, 2016, the Defend Trade Secrets Act of 2016 was signed into law and became effective immediately. The Act was passed overwhelmingly by Congress and creates a legal claim in federal court for theft or misappropriation of trade secrets. Most states have had trade secrets laws for years, but the federal law gives individuals and businesses that have developed trade secrets a much stronger way to protect their valuable trade secrets, regardless where in the United States the theft of secrets occurs. Under the law, “trade secrets” can include collections of proprietary information, methods of doing business, or devices that are valuable to the owner or creator because they are not generally known and cannot be easily obtained by competitors. Examples of trade secrets are inventions that have not yet been patented, marketing strategies and plans, and recipes.
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