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Senator Coons Introduces Legislation to Help Companies Protect Their Trade Secrets


Location: Washington, DC

U.S. Senator Chris Coons (D-Del.) joined U.S. Senators Herb Kohl (D-Wis.) and Sheldon Whitehouse (D-R.I.) on Tuesday in introducing the Protecting American Trade Secrets and Innovation Act of 2012 to help American companies protect their valuable trade secrets. Stolen trade secrets cost American companies billions of dollars each year and threaten their ability to innovate and compete globally. The bill ensures that companies have the most effective and efficient ways to combat trade secret theft and recoup their losses, helping them to maintain their global competitive edge.

"When a company's trade secrets are stolen, the company loses its competitive edge and the jobs of its employees are threatened," Senator Coons said. "We must do all we can to ensure that American innovators are able to protect themselves from economic espionage. The Protecting American Trade Secrets and Innovation Act would establish a strong and uniform federal civil remedy for companies that deal in trade secrets to recover for their theft. It is my hope that the Senate takes up this bill for consideration and sends a clear signal that we will not sit idly by while American companies' ideas are stolen."

"We cannot take lightly the threat of trade secret theft to American businesses, American jobs, and American innovation," Senator Kohl, the bill's original sponsor, said. "This legislation is another simple and straightforward step we can take to help companies defend themselves against trade secret theft. It demonstrates our commitment at the federal level to protect all forms of a business's intellectual property and their innovative spirit."

The Protecting American Trade Secrets and Innovation Act expands the legal options for victims of economic espionage and trade secret theft by allowing victims of trade secret theft to bring civil lawsuits against the offender in federal court. Today, companies that fall victim to economic espionage and trade secret theft often can only bring civil actions in state court, under a patchwork of state laws, to stop the harm or seek compensation for losses. While state courts may be a suitable venue in some cases, major trade secret cases will often require tools available more readily in federal court, such as nationwide service of process for subpoenas, discovery and witness depositions. In addition, for trade secret holders operating nationwide, a single federal statute can be more efficient than navigating 50 different state laws.

Senator Coons is a member of the Senate Judiciary Committee.

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