Sunday, June 30, 2013

HR 2466 Introduced – Trade Secrets

As I noted earlier, Rep. Lofgren (D,CA) introduced HR 2466, the Private Right of Action Against Theft of Trade Secrets Act of 2013. While the bill was apparently inspired by the large volume of intellectual property theft via cyber-espionage, there is nothing in this bill that makes the provisions specifically cybersecurity related; it would apply to all forms of trade secret theft.

Section 2 of this short bill would amend the criminal statute 18 USC 1832, Theft of Trade Secrets, by adding two new paragraphs. The first paragraph provides for the use of civil action (law suits) by parties injured by theft of trade secrets to seek “compensatory damages and injunctive relief or other equitable relief” {§1832(c)}. It also provides a two year time limit on pursuing such civil actions; the time being based upon the date of the theft or the “date of the discovery of the damage”.

The second added paragraph defines the term ‘without authorization’ used in the existing language of §1832 to ensure that reverse engineering or independently arriving at the same idea cannot be penalized under the section. While the clarification is certainly necessary, it does provide an increased level of complexity in both criminal and civil actions against theft of trade secrets.

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