As information has become easier to share in the digital age, protecting trade secrets through litigation has become a more popular tool for a variety of companies. Due to the passage of the Defend Trade Secrets Act, or DTSA, many of these cases have gone from Texas to federal jurisdiction, making the stakes even higher. DTSA disputes can involve everything from patent violations to misappropriation of trade secrets. More than a thousand cases have been filed since the law passed in 2016.
Two sectors using DTSA the most are healthcare and life science. Some of the biggest companies in these industries, including well-known pharmaceutical firms and medical device businesses, have filed major lawsuits in federal court. Representatives from some of these companies have claimed that many of these cases are the result of ex-employees stealing information and passing it on to competitors.
Other experts claim that the passage of the DTSA itself is responsible for the uptick in lawsuits. The law gave trade secret holders a private right of action in federal court. Previously, companies would need to file in state court. Filing in federal court is seen as advantageous for a variety of reasons. Corporate whistleblowers are considered immune from DTSA lawsuits.
Companies who believe that their trade secrets or intellectual property have been misappropriated may wish to get representation from a firm with experience in business litigation. DTSA cases can be very complex, and a dedicated team of legal professionals may be required to handle the case properly. Companies or individuals who are accused of violating DTSA might also hire legal counsel as the outcome of a dispute could have significant financial implications.