This heightened awareness was reflected in our survey, with 71% of respondents saying they completely, mostly or partially understand the implications of the DTSA on their companies, and 73% saying the same for the EU Directive. Although the laws differ in some respects, the DTSA and EU Directive share a common purpose: to create a uniform approach to trade secret protection and enforcement within the US and among EU member states.
Prior to the DTSA, US companies could seek redress for trade secret theft in federal court, but only under certain circumstances such as the company and the accused residing in different states. In many cases, companies had no choice but to sue in state court, where trade secret laws and the application of those laws differed from state to state. The DTSA now provides a uniform law under which companies can seek civil remedies for trade secret misappropriation in federal court.
Similarly, the EU had no unified trade secrets legislation prior to the EU Directive. All member states offered some form of trade secret protection and enforcement in their national laws, but it varied from country to country. In fact, Sweden was the only one to have a law specifically protecting trade secrets.
Both the EU Directive and the DTSA define trade secrets, outline the reasonable measures companies must take to ensure their protection, and provide legal remedies for those that suffer trade secret theft, such as court injunctions and damage awards based on lost profits.
News headlines about global cyberattacks and legal battles between tech titans have made it nearly impossible for corporate executives to ignore the issue of trade secrets. The enactment last year of two game-changing pieces of legislation – the US Defend Trade Secrets Act and European Union’s Trade Secrets Directive – has helped sharpen that focus.