Proposed U.S. and EU trade secret laws could create more tools to protect your valuable information

Important changes to trade secret law are brewing, potentially giving corporate clients more options than ever before to protect their information

Both at home and abroad, important changes to trade secret law are brewing, potentially giving corporate clients more options than ever before to protect their valuable confidential and proprietary information.

In the United States, the Defend Trade Secrets Act of 2014 represents the closest Congress has ever come to passing a federal trade secrets law, which would supplement the various state versions of the Uniform Trade Secrets Act (currently applicable in 48 of the 50 states), provide some powerful new remedies not included under state law, and give non-diversity plaintiffs the strategic option of filing in federal court.

Proposed EU trade secret law would harmonize and strengthen traditionally weak European rules

While Congress may be beefing up U.S. trade secret law, European politicians are currently confronting similar issues as they craft for the first time uniform trade secret regulations across the European Union. In place of the weak and porous country-by-country patchwork of trade secret laws, the new EU directive would create uniform guidelines across the 28 member-nations, allowing each country to write its own conforming regulations. The current laws vary widely, from the relatively tough trade secrets law in Germany to the lax rules and spotty enforcement found in Belgium and Bulgaria. As a threshold matter, the 28 member-states have dozens of different definitions of the term “trade secret.”

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Elizabeth Herrington

Elizabeth Herrington is an equity partner in the Chicago office of McDermott Will & Emery. She has represented many U.S. and international companies in significant,...

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Thomas McCann

Thomas A. McCann is a Chicago-based associate in the trial practice group of McDermott Will & Emery.

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