- Not enactedThe President has not signed this bill
- The senate has not voted
- The house has not voted
Committee on the JudiciaryCourts, Intellectual Property, and the InternetIntroducedJuly 29th, 2014
- house Committees
What is House Bill H.R. 5233?
The Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) defines stealing trade secrets as "when someone knowingly steals or misappropriates a trade secret to the economic benefit of anyone other than the owner." It's a big deal. In fact, the FBI has been producing educational movies trying to promote public awareness of trade secret theft.
Currently, the law does not provide victims of trade secret theft a civil remedy in federal court. The bill would give trade secret owners the authority to sue thieves in federal civil court, and make claims based on state laws, federal laws, or both. The bill would not preempt or supersede laws passed by a state legislature on the same subject.
Cost of House Bill H.R. 5233
theft undermines the ability of companies to capitalize on technologies
and practices that they’ve created — thereby helping their competitors.
The misappropriation of trade secrets can happen between domestic
rivals, or internationally, and often involves cybercrime.
It has been estimated that the U.S. economy loses over $334 billion every year to trade secret misappropriation. Collectively, America’s intellectual property (IP) has been valued at over $5 trillion, and IP-intensive industries account for 38% of U.S. GDP.
The bill would utilize language from the Uniform Trade Secrets Act (UTSA), which has been adopted in 47 states, although the actual implementation and wording of each state’s version can vary. The UTSA ensures that the owners of trade secrets can seek damages at the state level if their IP is stolen.
The Economic Espionage Act is the main law that protects trade secrets at the federal level, and can apply to interstate IP theft. But the Trade Secrets Protection Act differs in allowing for more expansive use of federal courts, including civil lawsuits, for trade secret owners.
This legislation doesn’t preempt the state variations of the UTSA. This has been called problematic by academics, noting that the bill is essentially creating another layer of complexity at the federal level without standardizing trade secret laws at the state level.
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