Defend Trade Secret Act: 2016 Roundup

On May 11, 2016, the Defend Trade Secrets Act of 2016 (“DTSA”) was signed into law. The DTSA created a federal civil private right of action for trade secret misappropriation by amending the Economic Espionage Act, 18 U.S.C. § 1831 et seq. (“EEA”), which criminalizes the theft of trade secrets. Prior to the passage of the DTSA, civil actions for trade secret misappropriation had to be filed under state law.

  • Since enactment, there have been approximately 184 complaints filed with DTSA claims, the vast majority of which were filed directly in federal court. Approximately 170 were filed originally in federal court, approximately eight were filed in state court but removed to federal court, and approximately six were filed in state court and stayed. 
  • Approximately 157 of those cases included both DTSA and state law trade secret claims.
  • During that same period, approximately 357 cases were filed with state law trade secret claims but no DTSA claims, approximately 105 in federal court and approximately 252 in state court. 

Approximately 50 of all of these cases have resulted in reported opinions regarding various provisions of the DTSA.